Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Headin' to the Farm...

We are proud to announce that retreat will make it's show circuit debut at the Farm Chicks Show this summer! We'll be in Spokane June 7 & 8 for the big event, which is high on the radar of Country Living magazine - that tells you how big and how busy this place is going to be. Bob & I are SO excited to be participating!

We are looking forward to meeting up with some far-flung friends we haven't met yet (that sounds interesting, doesn't it?!), and of course, there will be a special gathering of 'Women Take Wing!' members who will be showing at & shopping this FABulous show.

Our booth will have the theme of 'Garden retreat' and will be filled with a plethora of goodies for outdoor living, relaxing, and playing. Bob will have a FABulous selection of 'MANtiques' for the special guy in your life - just in time for Father's Day and graduation gifts! We've been shoppin' our hearts out, and have already started stockpiling goodies to share with you. (The attic is full, the garage is full, the storage shed is full, the dining room....well, you get the picture!)

We can't wait to meet you, too, so please plan to stop by our booth and say hello! (We'll have lemonade and some big ol' sugar cookies to share...)

Friday, March 14, 2008

A Softer Side of Spring...

A funny thing happened on the way to retreat Spring...
I had to re-design the whole setup. No, there wasn't a problem, it's just that I had all this great garden-theme stuff to put in the space (we even came across a FAB 40's picnic table & benches in the most perfect chippy white paint....) but I had one reservation about it: it seemed too country. Not quite 'Shabby Chic ' enough. Definitely 'Shabby Garden' but, well, I just wasn't sure about it meshing with the aesthetics of Faded Elegance.

Then, we made the decision to apply to participate in an upcoming show. If we are accepted, I'll be hauling all of that garden-fresh goodness to our booth in that show. Perfect solution! (Don't ask me what happens if we aren't accepted into the show.... I'm thinking positively here!) Edited to Add: I just got the verification - we're IN! retreat will be a vendor at the Farm Chicks in Spokane in June!

So, for a few hours on Wednesday night (while I should have been asleep, but my brain refused to cooperate with that schedule) and all day yesterday, I gathered up some stuff from our storage areas, dug through my fabric bins, and put together an 'almost' Parisian look. I say almost because...well, I guess I'd describe this as 'California French Style'. (Like Kari Meng's 'French General' store) Pale sand tones, various whites, feminine, a touch of garden style, vintage simple. It would look as perfect in a beach cottage at Newport or Mukilteo as in a bungalow in Pasadena or Snohomish. Or a farmhouse in Spokane!

It's spring, it's summer, it's fresh. Burlap is HOT HOT HOT in decor right now and i just happened to have some stashed away. I finally talked myself into parting with my antique pastiche frame. Lace linens, a bunch of white wire baskets, white ceramic accessories, some straw hats & tote bags, plus a white millinery hat and sweet white wicker vintage handbag finish it off. I think I will be heading in this direction with our Cottage's summer decor...a bit less feminine and a lot more beach house, but this color combination and fresh feel.

And no sooner had I placed that pastiche frame into the display when the sweet gal who was working walks up and says 'Uh Oh. I think I'll just buy that....' I asked her if I could at least take photos first, before she took it out of the display! So I snapped a few shots, then was wandering around the store, and two darling gals shopped the heck out of my booth! (Bless you, girls!) I may have to unearth a bunch more to refill this by Monday. Good thing I'm headed to Portland for a shopping trip tomorrow...

Oh, and I figured since I sold some stuff, I could buy something, and when I spied this cage in another vendors' booth, I moved in for the grab before those two shopping dynamos could get to it!

Isn't she cute?!!! The perfect state of peely-rusty, right there. sigh.
Nope, not selling this one......

Happy Spring, everyone! Now, go nest!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Artist Anne Packard!

I had the chance of a lifetime last Spring when I met my one of my favorite artists, Anne Packard! On a whim we went to Provincetown, Cape Cod and Anne was kind enough to open her gallery to us off season. What a warm and wonderful lady! She welcomed not only my husband and I, but also our two children and dog into to her lovely gallery. So welcoming, she invited us to back to her home. Anne lives right on the water with views of the Provincetown Lighthouse on one side and the open ocean on the other. She even allowed us into her studio- what gorgeous views of the ocean for inspiration. Here is some of her most recent work. The pictures do not do the originals justice.

Anne has won numerous awards, and been featured in Coastal Living Magazine. Her work is part of many prestigious private collections including: Kemper Museum, Polo Inc, Ralph Lauren, Oglethorpe University Museum, Deloitte & Touche, Bob Vila, Bank of Boston, Albrecht Museum, Provincetown Art Association, Suffolk School of Law and Diane Sawyer.

Her studio was filled with several works in process. When my 10 year old daughter asked Anne how long it took her to paint each painting she replied "A lifetime!Anne has also released a new book of her works available at She shares the gallery with her very talented artist/daughter, Cynthia Packard,who is incredible in her own right. What an amazing family! If you get a moment visit Anne Packard's website and see her most recent work at

The Swedish Dining Room

Lets have a look at a few Swedish influenced Dining Rooms. There are a few elements you can add to give your room that Swedish touch.

This feels very Swedish, yet does not use the trademark "gustavian gray" furniture. The cherry table and chairs could be part of any traditional dining room, but the addition of the slipcovered skirts, the crystal chandelier, light floors and the gray/blue walls lend a real Swedish feel to this room.

Here is a more traditional Swedish room. Pale handpainted walls, painted chairs and striped fabric seats, crystal chandelier and sconces. Notice the gorgeous painted sideboard.

Here is a more modern take on the Swedish look. I love the unique chandelier, coupled with the painted chairs from Niermann Weeks, sisal rug and traditional Swedish sideboard. Perfect and Fun!

Here is an elegant take on the Swedish feel. Very monochromatic with just a punch of Swedish blue on the chairs. Another sisal on the floor!

Finally, my favorite! This kitchen picture comes from The Kitchen Designer blog (see link right) Though more of a kitchen dining space I love the slat back chairs, check fabric, striped cotton rug and retro light fixture.

Crystal fixtures, painted furniture, pale floors, checked or striped fabrics, sisal/cotton rugs, chair skirts, airy curtains - remember just adding one or two of those elements can go a long way in giving you that Swedish look!

Monday, March 3, 2008

Wishing for Summer

It is snowing again in Boston and right now I am patiently waiting for warmer days. I have been collecting a wish list of some unique accessories for decorating my beach house. Have a look:

A collection of old metal sand shovels - what a great idea! Unique and charming!

Gorgeous cast iron urn - this one will be so pretty filled flowers

Fun pillows from Linda Banks' store Simply Home in Maine!

Antique travel posters always so chic - wouldn't this one look great against white painted beadboard?

I love these framed vintage bathing suits - Everyone has a great aunt who used to wear the red one! Fabulous!

Finally a beautiful, but more rustic, sea blue Mora Clock - This one would look great in any house, but at the beach I wouldn't wind it!