Wednesday, March 31, 2010

an evening in the tidal basin

Please excuse me for the lack of posts. I think the cherry blossoms have gone to my head.

(a bit more from the Tidal Basin here)

Monday, March 29, 2010

cherry blossom time

I promised myself last week that I would not post any more pink blossoms. But then on saturday, I was walking on Capitol Hill and spotted this weeping cherry. It was windy and the branches were swaying, tangling me in an embrace of pink petals. It was impossible to get my camera to focus, so I just started snapping photos in the hope that something would would come of it. Well, you need only indulge me a few more days. Soon the air will be filled with those little petals, settling in my hair and collecting in little piles along the sidewalk. They go as quickly and quietly as they come.

Washington is not alone in this madness ~ it is Cherry Blossom Time in Japan too!

Friday, March 26, 2010

trouvée: sur l'herbe

No inscription or date. This image feels like it was taken in the early spring ~ two friends enjoying the warmth of the sun after a long winter. Too cool for white linen dresses, but just perfect for a respite "sur l'herbe."

A few interesting bits in the paper:

* Losing It
* Eva Hesse
* and a house on Drakes Island

Enjoy the weekend. I hope you find your own patch of sun.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

a day in baltimore

When it comes to spring, too much is never enough.

Yesterday was so pretty that I decided to play hookey in Baltimore (I have the sort of boss who sanctions such things) ~ a morning at the Walters, lunch at the Baltimore Museum of Art with Meg (and a surprise guest!), an afternoon with Cézanne, and an evening lecture at Evergreen. The BMA was as pretty outside as it was inside (I will take a little John Russell Pope with a side of magnolia blossoms any time). And the day was as full of friends and inspiration as one could wish!

So, if you hookey one day. You never know who you might run into.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

a spring palette

Soft colors ~ pink, blue, and grey (and the reason my allergies are so bad). These from a walk on sunday. It has been raining since. Dark clouds, and one violent crack of thunder. If there is one season this city does well, it is spring (those of you complaining that you haven't seen a single daffodil yet, let's discuss Washington in August).

Good things:
* and cherry blossoms!

Happy tuesday...

Monday, March 22, 2010

hello spring!

Spring arrived gently on Saturday, embracing the city with warm air and sweet scents.

A few wonderful things:

* the Lovers' Suite ~ Eva Zeisel at Room and Board!
* these plates
* and this dog collar

Here's hoping your monday is as good as mine. Cheers!

Friday, March 19, 2010

trouvée: the smile

Uninscribed, undated. Probably 1940s. Just a wonderfully happy photograph! {click to view larger}

Some more things to make you happy:

* fabulous dead people: Millicent Rogers
* and 5 new Penguin classics

Spring arrives tomorrow at 1:32pm EDT (17:32 GMT). I will greet her with a smile.

Have a good weekend friends!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

a few pots

This morning I saw daffodils. And lines of Canada geese in sky, headed north. Spring is in the air!

My gardening friends are generally blissful at this time of the year ~ ordering rose bushes and planning their herb gardens. I have often lamented that living in a 500-sq. foot studio, I can not share in their excitement. Until now. I recently proposed to my condo "green" committee the idea of container gardening on the roof. Well, they loved it, and tapped me to head the initiative. We'll keep it simple at first ~ reusing terracotta pots and planters usually filled with petunias and scraggly looking shrubs. Then, if the project catches on, incorporating larger containers into a redesign of the roof landscape.

To be honest, I have no idea what I am doing, but if they can make The High Line work, I think a few pots on the roof will do just fine. I would love to know if any of you are involved in similar projects.

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


Witch-hazel (Hamamelis). A lone winter bloomer. Defying the rain and the cold on a grey Washington day.

Some things that made me smile:

* In the Night Kitchen
* Sea Marks at the Drawing Center
* Maria Kalman: Various Illuminations (of a Crazy World) at The Institute of Contemporary Art

The sun has banished the clouds at last.

Happy tuesday evening!

Monday, March 15, 2010

needlepoint and lemon tarts

Yesterday my alarm went off at some ungodly hour. It was dark and rainy, but I jumped out of bed in anticipation of an outing to Woodlawn for the annual needlework show. I am not a morning person, so that tells you something. Needlework and a historic house ~ how fabulous is that? The quality of the work was (as always) incredible and truly inspiring, but I have to admit that the highlight for me is lunch in the tea room ~ home-made quiche and lemon tarts. Holy moly those little tarts are good. (Some year I will get my hands on the recipe.)

Announcements for two interesting books have popped up in my mail box:
* and The Small Stakes (Jason Munn's music poster designs)


Friday, March 12, 2010

trouvée: al fresco

I saw this tintype and was immediately taken by it. It is so rare to find a portrait of this period made outdoors ~ I love the field, the tree, the ghost of a house in the distance (and the slightly tinted cheeks). {click to view larger}

Alas, I don't think the weekend weather will be quite so gentle. The east coast is under a big, thick rain cloud. But, I will manage ~ there are taxes to organize, books to read, errands to run.

And some things to look at:
* and Noble Savages / A Men's Tea Party (I find this sort of hilarious)

Have a good weekend. Cheers.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

in the garden

Several months ago the gentleman sent me a link for a wonderful blog on American Garden History. I was immediately smitten, and followed it obsessively. The only thing was that the author was anonymous, and comments were not enabled. And yet, I felt guilty being such an unabashed lurker. So, you can imagine my thrill when I received an email a couple weeks ago from its author, saying she had started a new blog focusing on her personal inspirations...and would I mind if she featured my blog (would I?!?). Well, it's about time I returned the compliment ~ please meet Barbara, whose daily musings on the stars and the moon, her sweet family, and frequent garden wanderings never fail to delight.

Oh, and I hope she won't mind my saying, but her book is pretty wonderful too!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

little inspirations

It has been a long winter, and my waist line has, I am afraid . . . ((expanded)) slightly. So, Schulie Madnick's new food posts over on Department of Interior come none too soon ~ culinary inspirations from my own farmers market no less! Simple, tasty foods, using local ingredients. I also love this recipe from Jamie Oliver ~ a healthy twist on a personal favorite (fettuccine with asparagus).

Over the weekend I treated myself to the March issue of Elle Decoration (uk edition), and fell in love with artist Claire Basler's studio home. Such a wonderful use of an industrial space. You can catch a glimpse here.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010


There is glorious sun today. I know spring is just teasing us, but it feels divine and warms the soul.

A few things:

* a very close call
* an impressive restoration
* and an amazing collection goes online!

Happy tuesday!

Monday, March 8, 2010

a walk in georgetown

Sunday was sunny and mild ~ and just perfect for a long walk into Georgetown. It was like emerging from hibernation: watching people venturing out into the sun, peeling off heavy coats, and sipping lattes at outdoor cafés. Dare I hope, a sign of things to come?

Saturday was a jumble of church rummage sales and used book stores, which yielded (among other things) a book on old silver for the gentleman, and two more volumes of John Burroughs for the lady. The latter including, most appropriately, a copy of Signs and Seasons (1886).

Friday, March 5, 2010

trouvée: little boy blue

Carte de visite, with photographer's mark on the verso "Alexander & Stevens Photographers, Morristown, N.J." The gentleman, who collects old cabinet cards more for their furniture than their subjects, told the lady a little something about the chair. A transitional piece, he said, certainly factory made. Definitely American, probably 1860s. The splat: Renaissance Revival style. The seat: upholstered in a printed chintz or cretonne, with a woven gimp trim. And the lady, whose interest lies more with the subject, is pretty sure that is a blue gingham outfit and straw hat (hello spring!). {click to view larger}

Cheers. And good weekend...!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

hoping for spring

The last of the snow pictures, I promise. (We may have turned the corner with some blustery March days.)

I have been reading John Burroughs lately, delighting in his beautiful prose. I picked up a copy of Locusts and Wild Honey (1879) in Fredericksburg earlier this winter ~ an 1880s edition, with a Sarah Wyman Whitman binding. It is as delightful to hold as it is to read. And somehow, essays on birds and bees seem to anticipate spring and have me dreaming of apple blossoms.

Happy thursday...xo.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

historic house tour: the lincoln cottage

Back in January (when winter promised only to be bone-chillingly cold and the idea of snow seemed a distant threat), the gentleman and I ventured over to the Soldiers' Home in upper northwest Washington to investigate the newly-restored Lincoln Summer Cottage. As luck would have it we were the only two souls hardy enough to brave the frigid temperatures, and so were treated to a private tour.

The Gothic-Revival style cottage was built in 1842 for George Riggs (of Riggs National Bank). Modest even by 19th-century standards, there is little to distinguish the house architecturally ~ its significance marked instead by its place in history. The real story begins in 1851, when the Riggs estate was purchased by the Federal government, the land intended as the site for a new soldiers' retirement home, and the cottage itself to serve as a presidential retreat (akin to Camp David today). While President Buchanan used it infrequently, Lincoln made it his sanctuary. Perched high on a hill overlooking the city, the house provided the president a place to escape the summer heat of Washington, and the frenetic pace of its society. It was there that Lincoln made many important, gut-wrenching decisions regarding the war, and wrote most of the Emancipation Proclamation. Following Lincoln's assassination, Presidents Hayes and Arthur occupied the house, but none to the degree of their predecessor.

Over the years, the cottage was used by the Soldiers' Home for various purposes, and evidence of its presidential occupants was slowly lost to time. Wisely, when the National Trust for Historic Preservation began restorations in 2000, it was decided not to fully furnish the house as there are few records to indicate how the interiors would have looked. But somehow in its sparseness, the house seems full of history.

(a few more bits here)

Monday, March 1, 2010

brown and grey

Just stopping by with a few quiet bits from a busy weekend. Gathering the pieces for a week of simple meals: fresh greens, homemade parsley tarragon pasta, asparagus, and bread.

Did you catch this story? A classic rises from the ashes. Make sure you don't miss the slide show ~ amazing!