Friday, April 29, 2011

trouvée: an english wedding

An old Wide World press photo, dated 25 February 1938, and labeled "An Asquith Takes A Bride." The caption reads: "Binfield, England -- Michael Asquith and his bride, the former Diana (Didi) Battye, London society girl who disappeared for nine days last June and was found on the steps of her fiance's home, leaving All Saint's Church after their wedding on Feb. 17."

Exact details of the story are sketchy in contemporary news reports. Miss Battye disappeared while staying with her friend Viscountess Long in Oxford Square, and was feared kidnapped (she had been attacked with a razor on the evening of the coronation of George VI several weeks earlier, and her fiance Michael subsequently received an anonymous letter threatening her well being). However, she turned up several days later in Regents Park, near the home of her future mother-in-law. She was suffering from what The New York Times called "nervous strain" and "memory loss," but was otherwise unharmed. The couple married and had three children, but ultimately divorced in 1952.

Today's English wedding was surrounded by far less intrigue. Lovely in every way! A new, fresh approach for the British monarchy, I think.

Some of my favorite bits:

* the dress!
* the flowers
* the kiss(es)
* and that Aston Martin

Well done! And a happy weekend to you all. . .

Thursday, April 28, 2011

wild greens

As excitement builds over tomorrow's royal nuptials, details about the wedding flowers have begun to trickle out ~ white lilac, wisteria, azalea and lily-of-the-valley mixed with wild green shrubs, maple and hornbeam trees. All set to transform Westminster Abbey into a woodland wonderland.

I am reminded of my first trip to St. Andrews in 2008, where wildflowers cling to the craggy bluffs above the famous rocky beaches. Even in June the North Sea winds blow cold and damp. Most of my time in Scotland was spent combing through books in the basement of the university archives, but on my lunch break I would grab a bag of fish and chips and head for the bluffs. The hot, salty fish burning my fingers as I sat on a bench watching the water, huddled in a warm wool scarf. It is a wild, romantic place.

Things British, to put you in the mood:

* the places of Jane Eyre's world
* Hicks and Jekyll on Style Court
* Kate Headley's London
* and a discovery in St. Martin's Lane

Until tomorrow. Cheers.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

hot days, warm nights

Washington has made the usual winter-into-summer transition (for the most part bypassing spring), so you will have to forgive the lack of posts ~ I have been "digging" in the garden, and trying to catch those cool rooftop breezes. But, I do have something on Swan House lined up (in the relatively near future). In the mean time, I give you roses.

And a few other things:

* Gone with the Wind (in New England?)
* Gone + almost forgotten
* and a southern supper

Happy tuesday. xo

Friday, April 22, 2011

trouvée: a-tisket, a-tasket . . .

. . . a green and yellow basket! Little baskets and big bows, some chocolate eggs and jelly beans ~ Happy Easter! {click image to view larger}

Some spring things:

* bluebells (and more bluebells)
* pasta with peas and mint
* a simple soup
* dogwood
* and one very old Easter rabbit!

We planted our roof garden last night. Flats of basil, rosemary and lavender ~ tomatoes with jaunty names like "Big Boy" and "Stripey" ~ and pots of sweet banana peppers. Amazingly, the oregano, thyme and mint survived the winter and already are going strong. I think it will be no time before mojitos are on the menu!

Have a good weekend friends.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

a few days in the sun

Back north. Home from Atlanta. I miss all the green leaves! And the heady scent of flowers.

Just a little preview of what's to come from the majestic Swan House. . . in the mean time, there is a garden to be planted. And lots of work to catch up on.


Monday, April 18, 2011

down south

. . . where the air is soft, the skies are blue, and the sun is warm on my face. There are lush green leaves, and bushes heavy with roses.

And there are lots of Peachtrees (but no peaches!).

Sunday afternoon was spent getting to know a friend for the first time, and monday morning seeing a classic piece of architecture. Then it was time to get to work. . .

I'll be home soon.

Friday, April 15, 2011

trouvée: a bit of spirng

This young lady puts me in the mood for spring! Unidentified and undated, holding a bouquet of wildflowers. {click image to view larger}

Some more fresh and lovely:

* red and white in Infinite Variety
* Jillian Tamaki: some new threads for Penguin

Have a wonderful weekend. I have a little trip planned next week, which includes meeting up with a wonderful mystery blogger ~ can you guess?


Wednesday, April 13, 2011

a royal occasion

There is not much that gets me out of bed at 5:00am (voluntarily). But, a royal wedding? Most certainly! So, you can be sure that I will be leaping up when my alarm goes off on the morning of April 29. I remember watching Diana's wedding on a little black and white tv in the attic of our house in Maine, shivering in the early morning cool of a New England summer.

So, now Kate and Wills! The official schedule has been released (you may find the details here), and the web is proliferating with royal wedding souvenirs. My personal favorites were designed by Brittany over at The House That Lars Built. She has devised some charming pieces, including a "Royal Wedding Procession" tote and print (above), and a very clever pop-art take on The Ring. Everything is available in her etsy shop. (Oh, and you mustn't miss Brittany's own beautiful wedding!)

So, fess up. . . will you be watching?

(image: courtesy of The House That Lars Built)

Monday, April 11, 2011

growing season

Government shutdown averted, I may now turn my mind to more gentil pursuits. Gardening! Tender sprouts and top soil are the topics du jour. You may recall last year's roof garden (complete with ugly-ripe tomatoes and urban landscaping)? Well, it was such a huge success with the community that we have received permission from the condo board to grow again. Along with additional pots, a new garden hose, and a BUDGET! I am already dreaming of tasty summer meals garnished with fresh herbs.

While I was in London this past February, I stopped by Petersham Nurseries in Richmond (after my outing with Emile). It was not yet spring, but the greenhouses were filled with seedlings and pots of bulbs. . . and an impressive line up of Wellington boots (would it be too outrageous to tromp around a concrete roof in a pair of Hunters?). Visual inspiration for the growing season to come.

Ahhhh, cooking & gardening:

* you grow girl
* How I Cook (Skye Gyngell's latest cookbook)
* great food from Penguin + Coralie Bickford-Smith
* and Emily Dickinson's herbarium (just to give it all a historical twist)

Happy monday!

Friday, April 8, 2011

trouvée: the capitol

All I will say. . . is that it is a rough day on Capitol Hill. Without getting into politics.

I received an email earlier today from a photographer in New York I work with frequently. He was surprised to hear I was at my desk: "I thought the government was already broken."

Well, not quite. But almost.

Along with some 800,000 other federal workers, I will be furloughed if a budget agreement is not reached by midnight tonight. Please know that while many Americans don't seem to care if the government is shut down, we are disappointed not to be working.

Have a good weekend.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

apple blossoms & anniversaries

It was just a year ago that a certain gentleman proposed under the apple blossoms at Dumbarton Oaks. That day was sunny and hot, the temperatures in the 90s. Today is just as sunny, but we are more likely to need a scarf and mittens than a sun hat! What a difference a year makes.

Anyway, in honor of this anniversary I thought I would share with you our wedding announcement (which we have at long last mailed off!). It was designed by my friend Tania Lee, an extraordinarily talented illustrator. It was printed in letterpress on creamy white Cranes stationery, and is probably the most divine thing I have ever seen! I simply told Tania that I wanted it to tell the "story" of us ~ and she took it from there. The lettering was inspired by the title page of a Humphry Repton red book (a nod to our Attingham summer school beginnings). Carlyle House was where we married, and the Planters Inn where we honeymooned. And of course Cupid played a little role in all of it. . . ! {click image to view larger}


Monday, April 4, 2011

spring forward

I always marvel at the transition from winter to spring. It is the roughest of all I think. Last week was cold and rainy, and positively dreary here in Washington ~ culminating in a wild day of weather on saturday: rain, thunder, hail, wind, torrential downpours, and more thunder, finally ushering in some sun and softer air. Winter is so very stubborn.

Every morning on my way to work, I pass a little Japanese maple tree and a funny pink building (do you remember these raindrops?). This morning I noticed some shiny new leaves and little red buds. So, perhaps we have sprung forward. . . for real!

Simply beautiful (I can't stop staring):

* Kate Headley in India
* Emily Shur in Japan
* and some Saarinen

Happy monday!

Friday, April 1, 2011

trouvée: a little behind

Happy April, fools! Just a little reminder not to take life too seriously (from an anonymous group in Wisconsin).

Some more fun:

* Queen Victoria's underwear (what scandal!)
* a kiss from Keats
* a balloonist photographer
* and some mug shots (they just don't take them like they used to)

And, if you are in Pittsburgh next week, be sure to take a little time to celebrate Fallingwater's 75th anniversary ~ with a symposium: Private Domains, Public Displays: The Modern House Interpreted, April 5, at the Carnegie Museum (one of my favorite guys is speaking!).


Have a good weekend. . .