Monday, June 28, 2010

Joys of Giving

I've just returned from the post office - where I mailed off a box of love to the women of Genesis Shelter in Texas.  When I got involved with the Martha Stewart group Dreamers Into Doers back in January, little did I know how much love, support, encouragement, inspiration and joy would come to me from this amazing group of women and their endeavors.  One of the spearheads of the group, Terry Grahl of Enchanted Makeovers, -- -- has launched a nationwide tour to inspire communities across the land to give a little of their love, encouragement, and inspiration to women and their children who find themselves in a shelter situation due to domestic violence.  The focus of this shelter event is "Bringing Back Basics" - helping the women expand on the life skills they use everyday to nurture and sustain their family.   There will be cooking lessons, sewing lessons, games and activities for the children - and mother/child lunch program. 

In keeping with that theme, I am able to send a hand painted cooking apron which will be given as a door prize, plus potholders with original design art for each woman. One of my favorite quotes on the potholder -- 'Small Cheer and Great Welcome Makes a Merry Feast' (by Shakespeare).

Another of my 'sisters' from the Dreamer group, Rachel Gaffney of Authentic Irish Goods, -- will coordinate the cooking segment.   Still another Dreamer, Debbie Maddy of Calico Carriage Quilt Designs, -- -- will coordinate the sewing lessons part of the event.   Many, many other Dreamers have donated time and talent to this event, and the previous ones held this year.  These are very worthy causes, and if you are interested you can find lots of information about how to get involved at Enchanted Makeovers -- we'd love to have you join us.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Art in Baltimore

The Americans for the Arts Half-Century Summit is going on in Baltimore this weekend.  The Summit  celebrates  the arts during the past 50 years and explores the opportunities the next 50 years will bring. Famous film maker, John Waters, and iconic movie star, Robert Redford, are among the stars showing their support for the arts in education and throughout the community.  

I dont have any photos of me with Robert Redford -- but .....    A few years ago I went to a Buddy Deane reunion dance where John Waters was a guest.   This picture of me, John, and Evanne Robinson was taken that night.   He and Evanne had known each other since high school days when she was a very popular member of the 'committe'.  For those of you who may not know, The Buddy Deane Show was the local equivalent of 'American Bandstand' and teenagers all over Baltimore rushed home to catch the show and keep up with their favorite dances and their favorite dancers.  Evanne was definitely one of the favorites.   John Waters once said in an interview that she was his inspiration for one of the main characters in Hairspray.    John Waters never appeared on the show, but he did feature Buddy Deane in a cameo in the Hairspray film.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

favorite things

It gives me a lot of pleasure to be surrounded by pretty things.   Some of my favorites are glassware and dishes.   This set of dishes always reminds me of a celebration - and if you ever see this pattern for sale - by all means, BUY it for me - my set needs a few more pieces :)

This pretty pale green dish is in the 'Sandwich' pattern
which was popular in depression glass....  But this dish is not depression glass.  The pattern is right but this color was not used during the depression years - it came much later.  That's ok with me, I love it still.

And I love it even more as a backdrop for my grandmother's two dresser bottles
This collection of glass door knobs started with the ones that came from my husband's mother's house.  I've added to the collection over the years.  I purposely mixed them all together, so that in our hearts they are all from "Grandmom's House"

I especially love the way light comes through stained glass windows.   This one hangs over my kitchen window - it makes doing dishes a pleasure - and its a welcome beacon each time I come home.
and .... these pretty glasses make me happy.   I have them in three different sizes -- water, pilsner, and sherry glasses.   I had to restrain myself from buying more - I swear, they probably have 8 different sizes!!    I figure three is enough (at least for now:)

Monday, June 21, 2010

Cruisin' on the River

Chestertown was lucky enough to be one of the ports on the American Cruise Line's Spirit tour.
Friendly people from all over the US boarded the ship in Philadelphia and arrived in Chestertown last evening.
This morning they set out to explore the town --- Robert Ortiz Studio was early on the tour.

We enjoyed showing them around the shop and giving them a look at what we do.   Steve Croker showed the steps he takes to create carved ginko leaves used as accents on many of Robert's designs.  He explained the different woods and how they compliment the furniture.  He also showed how he uses real leaves as his guide in order to achieve the most authentic detail possible.

Everyone was interested to hear Bob tell about the process he goes through to create such beautiful furniture.   He starts by chosing boards from the saw mill that have been cut and dried properly.  He uses a jig - essentially a pattern - to cut the pieces.   People want to know how long it takes to make a piece of furniture - how many man-hours - but all of Bob's experience, design time, trial and errors go into the making of each piece.   So the answer is - 'it takes a life time' to make.  View many more photos of tables, chairs & cabinets at

Our current project is an entry table with mahogany base and walnut top.  The base is still under construction, you can see one leg before the final cut has been made and the other leg shows how it will look when finished.   Take note of the 'ribbon' wood grain.  The top has two coats of linseed oil finish so far -I applied the second coat today -- it will eventually have five.
Here's a display of Baltimore Painted Screens.  This old folk art has been gracing the windows and doors of Highlandtown  since the 1920's.  Newcomers are always surprised to find that you cant see in from the street - but those inside can see right through.  

We enjoyed the cruisers - and look forward to future visits.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010


Inspiration for me comes in many forms --  an ordinary walk will find me snapping pictures to take home and tuck away until the right idea comes along. 
It could be a stroll through the flower district in New York ,

 or a walk downtown Chestertown where the trees throw beautiful shadows on the brick sidewalks.

Or it could be the top of a grand old building ..... interesting pictures are everywhere, just waiting for the chance to star in a work of art.   Hmmmm - I think I'd better get busy..... Inspiration is calling.

OBX and Sunshine

We just returned from a wonderful visit to OBX -my brother and his wife live there and we arelucky enough to visit at least once a year, sometimes several times.  Not only do we enjoy a healthy dose of sea air and sunshine, but we get to spend time with family: looking over old photos, re-telling childhood stories -- laughng, loving and building new memories along the way.  This visit was no exception.  In between great BBQ (Carolina style, of course), shrimp, grits and birthday cake, we took walks on the beach, scouted out thrift and antique shops, enjoyed the fresh berries from their garden, sipped pina coladas on the deck -- AND watched my brother surf with his new board.   You wont be able to miss him in the water now, - that neon orange can be spotted a mile away!  He was as excited as I've ever seen him - and we were loving it from the shore, thrilled with every wave he caught! 

Nice Ride ...