Madame A Paris

Simply lovely, endearing looks for Spring / Summer from Madame A Paris.

Where we blog from: Head Over Heels

This week, I've been thinking a lot about colour. I'm notoriously neutral, but I've been thinking about a splash of colour inside my shoe closet or at the end of my hall (baby steps). So, this installment of "Where we blog from" is well-timed; it's definitely the brightest blogging space we've seen so far!

For those of you unfamiliar with Nelya's wonderful blog Head Over Heels, brace yourself for post after post of design inspiration. This home featured on Friday has been haunting my dreams all weekend. And here's another post that I'm seriously stuck on. This is where Nelya blogs from and what she has to say about it!


This is where I blog from. Sometimes. More often than not, I may be found typing awa
y at the kitchen counter, on the couch, or from the kitchen table, Really, from where ever I may steal away a moment, or more precisely, when my kiddos have given me a momentary reprieve. But this blue-hued space is where the computer officially resides.


The room is at the very front of our house, just off the foyer, and was once my husband's office. He moved to the basement and I stealthily moved in. The furnishings are a mishmash of new and old, traditional and modern, with a few quirky, (hello fish) well-loved items thrown into the mix.


I especially love being surrounded by my children's art, my grandmother's plants and chippy, peel-y dresser, photographs from our honeymoon so long ago, and all the many teetering stacks of books and magazines I draw so much inspiration from.


Thanks for the invitation, Jane. What a treat!


Thanks Nelya!

Weekend

My weekend has been quiet and contemplative. I'm trying to work on a plan of some kind, but I guess I don't love the materials I'm working with. I've been rewatching season two of In Treatment (have I told you how much I love that show?) and there's a part where Paul (the therapist) doubts the effectiveness of the therapy he provides. Gina (his therapist) tells him to approach his patients as if he believes in the process and believes he can help them.


Of course, at the beginning he's fighting his own self-doubt and skepticism, but then he notices a difference in the reactions he gets and, in turn, in his own reactions. And he slowly starts to believe in what he's doing again. I guess in the same way Paul was doubting his profession and everything he's trained for, I've been doubting myself; how I live and what I do. I've been wanting a completely different thing, something that I couldn't ever put my finger on but felt was "it".

Now, I'm wondering what would happen if, this week, I act as if I believe in the life I already have: That I believe in what I'm doing and where I'm living and the people who are my friends. If that will change everything and ultimately help me really start to believe in it. Because for weeks now, it's all seemed so arbitrary and upsetting. Yet my attempts at changing anything have been fruitless. So, maybe I should start believing in what I've got instead.

Image from Liddy Greenaways Flickr

Friday!

Here's what (all) I'm hoping for today and for the weekend: That at the end of today I feel like I actually accomplished something this week. Something more than cycling through the days. And that this evening, with everything up to date, I don't just start eddying about, like a crazy dust mote with nowhere to go. That, instead, I'm overcome by contented exhaustion and I fall into the deepest, sweetest, dreamless sleep imaginable.

That's all. I doesn't seem too much to ask, does it? What simple pleasure are you chasing this weekend?


Image credits: 1. {film.502}, 2. {film.256}, 3. Untitled, 4. hg, later today.

Juliette Hogan

When I last blogged about Juliette Hogan (here), I was truly swept away by her collection. Sometimes, it's with trepidation that I return to a designer who impressed me so. What if that one collection was an exception? How will I reconcile a collection I don't like with one I loved so much?

Happily, no such trauma occurred. I'm just as smitten now as I was then. And big bows? -Fabulous (and remind me of the styling of this scarf label, which I also loved). Plus, now I sort of want big hair piled on top of my head. See more here.


Rough Luxe

Given my deep love for this home and this home and this one too, it should be no surprise that I really like the look Rough Luxe hotel.


But this all comes with a strange and vague proviso: I like this rough-hewn imperfect style when it's used selectively, to expose the layers and stories of a building, to showcase patina that's genuine. But the minute it becomes too cultivated I recoil a little.


The best analogy I can come up with is a pair of worn-in jeans. The age and distressing should be personal and authentic. Designer distressing just doesn't ring true and, in the end, is as inauthentic as over-renovating. Knowing where to start and where to stop takes truly great talent.

Golden S/S 2010

Every season, I post the latest Golden collection and wish I was six again. But that's not it. I really want to dress exactly like this right now, at a whopping 33 years of age. And the worst part? -I really don't think there's anything wrong with that.

A poem for Wednesday

It must be a seasonal thing. Once the weight of winter starts to lift, I find myself surrounded by yearning for the countryside. Maybe it's the angle of the sun, or the faint whiff of new growth that sets us all off. Thinking about a simpler life, where we spend less and savour more.

This poem is by Irish Kerry poet Michael Kirby. My parents are close to his family and Mum recently send me this, his final publication. His writings are sometimes a little lyrical for my taste. It's something I fight (often unsuccessfully) in my own writing. But every once in a while, I give in it. This is one such time.

When I Am Free
When I am free
I'll seek
The wonderways
Of my childhood
Far from the rapid highways
Of my manhood;

Some country lane
Where I might see
The ripening springburst
Of another summer
Glisten in the hedgerows,
And listen to twittering linnets
Within secluded bowers
Feed love
To little pulsing hearts
And open mouths;

Where I can breathe
Sweet fragrance
From the primrose,
And watch the honeybee
Take time
To kiss each lip
And sip from yellow cups
That mingle
With wild bluebell
In the dell.

Where I can pause
A while
In peace
Until my eventide,
And watch perchance
Sweet mistress of the night
Prepare my bed,
Where I can rest
Until another dawn.

Awaking inspiration

I love this room from the latest Cabbages & Roses home catalogue. I spent hours on the weekend looking for home inspiration and found myself coming up short on all my old reliable sources.

Maybe it's just part of winter fatigue, that I'm finding it hard to feel inspired. Or maybe, I've just become so over-exposed to design that I start to become bored of the recurring themes and recognizable products. But this room reset my brain and gave me something new to think about.

Gary Graham S/S 2010

Gary Graham's collection for Spring has bumped him up a few rungs on my favourite designer ladder. As I looked through his collection, I couldn't help but think how much better these designs would look on women with curves, which is always a refreshing thought when looking at a fashion collection. And, of course, I love styling those soft layered pieces with boots; always one of my favourite fashion combinations!

Elsewhere

The lovely Lana (recently featured in "Where we blog from") invited me to visit her lovely blog today, where she magically made my place look nice and asked me the kinds of questions that I very much enjoy being asked. I'd love it if you popped over to say hello there too! Click here to read more. Thanks Lana!!


Also, for those of you who entered, I drew a winner for the Seb Lester print!

Where we blog from: Mackin Ink

I feel like everybody out there must have experienced the exuberant warmth that comes in the form of Karey Mackin. She's hilarious, touching, insightful and is one of those foundational support structures that underpins our little community. Karey's also one of the talented ladies behind T.ruffle Girls, a store that sells charming "candy for the soul". If these images don't make your Monday a little sunnier, I don't know what will! This is where Karey blogs from and what she has to say about it...

Hi! It's me...Karey M. of Mackin Ink and also one half of the T.ruffle Girls. I'm delighted to walk around Jane's imaginary home today, as it's honestly one of the truest, most thrillingly well-edited spaces I've discovered. Plus I always leave here feeling smarter. And today, if you notice, I'm using capital letters. That Jane Flanagan...

We've just moved back to the States after about six years overseas, so I feel like this house still has a sort of un-lived in feeling about it. My fault, entirely, because from the minute we stepped back into it, I was already packing to leave. I crave adventure.


But I was happy to retrieve my drafting table from storage. My dad refinished it before he died, so it's a pretty important piece to me. I put it in the brightest corner of our kitchen, and it's from here that I write
Mackin Ink and all the words that mean the most to me and Mary Swenson's photos on our T.ruffles blog, The Sweeterie.

Most of our walls are covered with photographs from our travels. Not that you can really tell, as I tend to crop pictures to highlight smiles and sparkly eyes. Obviously, the mud-covered shot of my husband and middle daughter, Grae-Rose, was taken at the Dead Sea, but only I would know that the other one is of Lillie Kate in Oman and the other is of a sleeping Esmé in Jordan. This quirk of mine infuriates my husband to no end.



Our giant mirror is old-school Pottery Barn, back when they only sold frames and candles. I simply must get motivated to hang it before we pack-out again. At several times of the day, one of our girlies three is standing at the globe, chatting and pointing out where we've been and dreaming of where we'll go next. Those tiny moments inspire me greatly.

I refuse to write without strong coffee in great amount. Also, it seems I may be going blind, and even the cutest frames as recommended by Greedy Girl are not helping me.

I store most of my markers and pens in random colorful pots, and anything that shouldn't be seen is stuffed in one of eight silver cannisters, from a Nambé wine chiller to sturdy ice buckets to the skinniest cylindrical vases. Silver and turquoise is seriously one of my favorite color couples.


I'm unashamedly drawn to pretty, shiny views, so you'll find collections of glimmering objects on my desk and smack in front of me. My capiz shell wind chime is the only thing I wrap and pack myself before every move we make. To me, it's one of the happiest things ever made: canary yellow and fragile and singing the loveliest songs. Perfection. And while I despise cold weather, my seasonal views just out my window aren't too bad, either.

Thank you, Jane! This was a total kick. And if any of you want to visit me, either on Mackin Ink or The Sweeterie or even our Etsy Shoppe, I'll always be thrilled to see you. xoxo, karey m.

Thanks Karey!

Industrial and feminine

I keep thinking about Michaela Scherrer's bathroom that was featured over on Remodelista. The combination of vintage and industrial pieces with more feminine paraphernalia is a look I find deeply inspiring. I really love finding one picture that encompasses all that I love in home design. Do you have one such image?

Inklore

I got an e-mail this week from Samantha Hirst, the talent behind the blog Good Measure and store Inklore. I love linen napkins in general, but in particular was smitten by the Ray of Light pattern napkins. The pattern would be a lovely complement to these Man Ray plates I blogged about before (and still think about).

Friday!

I'm sick of reading myself moaning about how tired & overwhelmed I am right now, so I'm going to cut straight to the good stuff: On ReadyMade, I really love this outfit I put together and I want the jacket something bad - definitely going on my wishlist. My loveliest deskmate Laura thrummed some mittens for me and - even better - made an instructional video to go with them. On a summerier note, Kelly's swimsuit post had me dreaming of the seaside. I adore these styles!


On the decor front, the (handsome) electrician came over and installed my pendant and explained everything to me so I feel like I could tackle it myself, though I may just call him back to do the others anyway. Also, I decided against white for my bedroom. It will be dark grey (shade to be determined) - the exception to an all-white apartment. And, oh, just about everything in this decor post by Nelya pulled at my heart.

If any of you want to make me these Gluten Free Lemon and Almond Meltaways, I might just love you forever. Though they're the last thing I really need. What I need is yoga and brisk walks and leafy greens and bright oranges. I also need reading time. I haven't been reading as much as I need to to make me happy. Though, I did create a new "shop my bookshelf" section for those who always ask for book recommendations. Each and every title is special to me and I hope you discover something you love there too.

Don't forget to enter to win this Seb Lester print. And also, don't forget to have a happy weekend!

Image credits: 1. a happy new year, 2. Untitled, 3. *, 4. Untitled

Joshua Jensen Nagle

I've had my fill this week. Of the city, of office politics, of people wanting something from me. I really just want to lie on a beach, feel the not-too-hot sun on my arms and legs, the sand slipping through my fingers. These photos by Joshua Jensen Nagle are giving my brain a much needed break.


From Bau-Xi

Light, space, perfect balance

I was digging through Skona Hem's archives last night, looking for some random inspiration and I found this home. I love the balance of light and dark in these images, the beauty of the light and use of space.

Recent acquisitions

I've been on a bit of a spending fast, but some things have slipped through nevertheless. Still, it's difficult to regret buying something you truly love. Other than these lapses, I've been very good and stuck with my 2010 budget so far (which is the real goal). And, if it's any further consolation, the clothespeg sailor girl was a gift from the gorgeous Jill Bent (she and I can wear matching outfits!). Thanks Jill!


Many of you have left comments asking about my experience with the Turkish towels. I LOVE them. They're incredible soft and absorbent, full "bath sheet size" and the price is unbeatable. I really like how light they are too - great for the summer months. The shipping time (understandably) took a little longer, so if you're ordering them with a deadline in mind, get the order in rather early.

Sailor girl clothespeg doll by Jill Bent / Turkish Peshtemel by Turkish Bath / Little Rocks necklace by Colby June / Ink blot pillow by Uniform Natural

Cabbages & Roses

My jaw dropped when I saw the shots for the new Cabbages & Roses collection - definitely one of my favourite so far. The mood is so meditative and quiet, the clothes romantic but wearable. I want my entire spring and summer to feel this dreamy.

Rooms with ethnic rugs

On the weekend, I did some prep work for my bedroom, pulling down some old disconnected cable that was wrapped around my doors and painted over and scraping back the paint. And I've booked an electrician to come and hang the Nelson pendant.

It's very difficult for me to pay somebody to do this. I was raised by a DIY Dad who thought we girls needed to be able to rewire lamps and do our own projects. But, I have limited exposure to North American electrics and my building is 1930's so what lies beneath the current fixture may not be textbook. My plan is to view this as a lesson so I'll feel more confident tackling my hall pendant... hopefully completely riding my apartment of those flushmount boob fixtures.

My 2010 bedroom plan includes a kilim that I already own. Looking through my Tumblr there are many examples of why I love this style of rug. Here's a round-up:


Images found on the following brilliant blogs. Please click through for full image credits and lots more inspiration: 1. Remodelista / 2. Design*Sponge / 3. The Style Files / 4. Delight by Design / 5. You are My Fave

Giveaway: Seb Lester print

I bought this print a while ago and have never got around to framing it and I don't really have a place to hang it. I'm all about paring back what I own right now and don't want to hoard things in closets for some elusive future date. So, I've decided to give away the unframed print.


The poster is "Mightier in Metallic Silver" by Seb Lester
- Limited edition of 100
- Signed and numbered in metallic silver
- Screen printed using metallic silver ink
- 240gsm black Plike paper
- Measures 23.4 by 16.5 inches

To enter, just leave a comment (make sure your profile links to an e-mail address or, if not, include one in your comment). I'll draw one random winner at 12 noon EST on Monday, February 22nd.

UPDATE: And the winner is: Christina!

Brora Early Spring

The Brora collection is always one of my most anticipated. It's pretty hard to beat lovely Scottish cashmere paired with Liberty print dresses. The blouses this season especially caught my eye.

Where we blog from: Joey and Lana

For as long as I can remember, I've dreamed of restoring a home, lovingly, patiently and perfectly. So, it's no wonder that some of my favourite blogs are those that feature restorations and renovations. I may live in a tiny rental, that I can only justify doing so much to, but I hope one day my dreams actually take hold. Joey and Lana are definitely living that dream on a very grand scale. This is where Lana blogs from and what she has to say about it...


My "office" in my last home was a closet a friend turned into an office for me when my husband and I were living in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Needless to say, I didn't spend much time in there. Now that we bought a home, I called dibs on the room connected to the garden room and turned it into my very first real home office. I was attached to the room because of all the light that came in, the fireplace, and the shape of the room.


Our home is a 1930's tutor and very traditional. We keep it light and clutter free. I had other plans for the space I would be using to create and blog from. I kind of need a bit of chaos and clutter around me to think. I used bits and pieces from loved one's to make the room special. It's a mix and match of colors with a sunny vibe, even in the winter. I had a big problem trying to conform the room to the rest of the house until I finally caved in and naturally let it tell me what it would be. Turns out a 70's garage sale is the vibe and surprisingly there is a uniform to the room with red, brown, and yellow, and I couldn't be happier.


Beyond an office, I use it as a crafting room, and my puppy's love hanging out on the colorful "rug" (which is really a thick blanket my husband's great great aunt made) and play. It's kind of the room you come to when you want to create something. In all honesty I feel the room is in it's infancy. There is a lot of potential, but we just moved in and have yet to utilize it. I plan to get a new desk and put in a sitting area to take my laptop to when I don't want to be bolted down to the desk.


Thanks for including me in your post! I love everyone's space and it's wonderful to see where everyone produces their amazing work!

Thanks Lana!