Friday, May 30, 2008

June 2008 issue Domino
hot off the press
just arrived in my mailbox today
check out the fabric on the chairs
look familiar?

Same fabric as my picture frames 
from the Conservatory Garden Luncheon post 
on May 23, 2008

Remember, I created picture frames for the 
Central Park Conservancy Women's Committee 
from the Quadrille fabric that Quadrille donated for the table clothes.

love to spot trends

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Eagle Eye

Ready to pounce

Where did that critter go?

I'll get you my pretty

Sunday morning - middle of the long weekend - I expected to enjoy a nice long sleep... Nope.

Sneezing attack. Then Libby, the sometimes darling pooch, whined at the edge of the bed, on my side of course.  She was relentless.   So I went through the drill - let Libby out, got her food ready, opened the curtains, movement, fur, a wild critter, yup, in the Living Room, on the window ledge!  I am not generally a crazy screaming type; this proved to be the exception.  
Back track a day; Saturday, while I was working in the studio, aka garage, I left the doors open so Libby could go in and out at will. We do this regularly, usually without incident. DH arrived back home and was working quietly when he heard Libby chasing something madly around the upstairs. Checking the scene he was met with a chipmunk racing down the stairs and Libby close at its tail.  Snatching Libby to avoid what most definitely would have been an awful bloody mess (but from Libby's perspective would have been a glorious conquest), DH barricaded Libby in a bedroom and began the hunt for the speed-racing chipmunk.  With all the doors open we figured the little guy found its way out of the house - nope, he cowered in some dark corner and successfully hid for another 12 hours.

The funny thing was, that very day I read an entry from a newly discovered blog, Ann Leary, a writer who happens to be very funny, and her post was coincidently about the very thing I just described - wild animal in house - but so much more entertaining.  Start the day with a laugh or smile and read:  Ann Leary: May 23, 2008.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Habitually Chic post, May 26, 2008
Inspiration Board

Inspiration boards, memento boards, vision boards, to do boards,
this is my life board, whatever you call them,
they are a great way to stay organized and inspired.

The creation of custom memento boards is one facet of my business.

Recently, several inspiration boards have been featured prominently on popular design blogs.

Inspiration Boards in the offices of Alessandra Branca in Chicago
as featured on Cote de Texas's April 7th post on designer,
Alessandra Branca.

The boards are not too difficult to create, just a little patience,
a little math, and the right tools,
so if you would like one, but don't really have the time nor inclination to diy,
just contact me.
I can send the pieces anywhere...e-mail contact info is available on the blog.

As mentioned in a prior post, I have a brisk custom order business for inspiration boards from decorators and designers, including
both of whom have been featured in national publications.

I just finished these two fun boards for a local store.
Fun fabrics with delicious pears and flowers in the style of Marimekko

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Have you ever wondered about the google doodles?

Little bursts of creativity that just pop up occasionally on Google's homepage
It's like a surprise treat!  

On May 22nd Google announced the winners of their google doodle contest
eligible contestants were K-12 students in the US
contest guidelines: "imagine their own version of the google logo, 
inspired by the theme "What if?" 

The winning doodle is pictured above
Titled: "Up in the Clouds" by Grace Moon of Canyon Middle School, California
Congratulations Grace!

Check out the google doodle link to see many more creative interpretations of
"What If"

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Memorial Day Parade 1942

My father as Uncle Sam with his Pinto pony named Topper
in a 1942 Memorial Day Parade in Massachusetts
Sign in back of buggy says
All Pull Together Buy War Bonds Now
click on picture to enlarge

check out girl with bow in the crowd
look familiar - those bows are timeless

Enjoy your parade and cookouts this weekend

Friday, May 23, 2008

May 7, 2008 
A glorious day in the Central Park Conservatory Garden
The Central Park Conservancy Women's Committee hosted the 26th annual 
Frederick Law Olmsted Awards Luncheon

beautiful flowers and creative hats

pictures from Martha's blog
more gorgeous hats

Quadrille donated all the fabric for the tablecloths

A friend of mine who works at the Central Park Conservancy 
asked me to create frames using the same Quardrille fabric
as a special memento for each committee member 

just perfect for that Bill Cunningham or Martha candid

I hope they liked the frames
I thought they looked great

notice the green and brown theme 
harking back to earlier posts this week...

to see more of the stunning hats go to 
or the 

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Last year blue and brown was hot
now we see green and brown sprouting everywhere
the green movement maybe
or just because they look good together

start in the natural world
what works there, works everywhere

then move to the shelter magazines

then to the blogosphere

My Notting Hill was the Washington Post's "pick to click of the week"
according to their blog watch on May 16th -
for her post on green and brown

This picture is lifted from My Notting Hill's blog (with permission)
It is a photograph from Living etc June 2007 - Wallpaper by Cole & Son
look at everything happening here - I especially love the shocking pink

Craig Henson's room at the Washington DC designer showhouse

Another picture from My Notting Hill
Traditional home 2005

Wednesday, May 21, 2008


by pve

a blogging game via pve design
 answers from the novice blogger

what was i doing 10 years ago?
living in same house
 just switched offices (same firm) from nyc to greenwich
working in the suburbs was strange, missed the city, the concrete, the skyscrapers
it was a weird blend of my two worlds - home and work
got over it - listened to lots of great books on tape in the car
 got to go to many more events at my daughter's school
worked just 2 days a week - that was nice!

what are five things on my list today
since it is almost bedtime i'm done

ice cream cones

things i would do if i were a billionaire?
share and give back
ditch the day job
focus on my small business 
add a little space to my house
find a cottage by the sea

places i have lived
chestnut hill 
new york city

tags from bluebird lane 
pve design did a fun post on knitting projects
the picture was so colorful I had to post it on this rainy day
back to green and brown tomorrow

it reminded me of some other friends who like to knit
the knitwits
recently they knit and felted the vases below
the vases were raffled at a charity Mother's Day tea
to benefit the Family and Children's Agency in Norwalk, CT
Mothers helping Mothers

the colors of flowers and vases alike are luscious

close-up with knitwits tag and all!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

1955  stamp  

man in the mountain reference at the bottom of the post
not enough time this morning to get the order right

 The assembly line - production in full tilt
have been spending a lot of time in the studio aka the garage

been thinking of green and brown 
new color trends
just look outside the "studio" window

we have had a lot of rain in my corner of the world
resulting in a burst of heavy, dense foliage
so much nicer than the woody sticks of winter
but I want more sun!


 look very closely - see the rocks  in the middle of the picture
just to the right of the bush in the center of the picture 
I know the whole picture is bushes, trees and rocks
bear with me 
go along the wall - count over three rocks to the right
there is a tree trunk directly over the rock I am talking about
there is a face in a rock
a natural sculpture
I work in the same spot and sometimes just stare into the distance daydreaming
one day I focused on this face 
what a wonderful discovery
if I had more expertise with photoshop or even had photoshop 
I could draw a circle around the face
maybe down the road
this is my very own "old man in the mountain"
if you don't know about the old man - it was a face in profile on 
Cannon Mountain, in NH
We loved to see it as kids when we went up to Mittersill to ski
He fell off the mountain on May 3, 2003

another discovery, a cardinal likes this honeysuckle bush 
he visits often; it must be a favorite perch
of course, when I have the camera, he is off hunting for worms and such
he jumps out with his brilliant red amidst the green 

blogging makes you see
several bloggers have written about this effect
thinking about what your next post will be - you focus more on what you see
An added bonus to this new activity 

Thursday, May 15, 2008

ooh la la   
check out the new illustration for my blog
I am so excited.  I just love it.
The illustration was done by pve design

I read about Patricia last September 1oth, to be exact.
Check out the interview on All The Best.
I knew that I recognized the artistic style,
but I could not place it.
I immediately checked out her website and was intrigued by the Vermeer-like photograph.
As I read, I had my ah ha moment:
all those cards that I saved over the years from J McLaughlin
were painted by Patricia.
Soon I contacted Patricia and told her how much I liked her work 
and that I had a collection of her J McLaughlin artwork. 
I especially liked the Christmas card with the big, red, puffy couch.  
I wanted to commission her to design a mailer for my business, 
but I had a busy show season ahead and would wait until the new year.
Not many days later I participated in a boutique show at the Hackley School and noticed another boutique vender had PVE artwork as the logo for her shoe store, The Perfect Pair

what a strange coincidence - it was meant to be 
Patricia and I met at a lovely cafe in her town in January 
and talked and talked -
then I put together a folder of information that Patricia used to create 
this wonderful illustration & VOILA

My next project for the weekend is to figure out how to set the illustration
 into the blog header
I have already consulted All Things Bright and Beautiful
Felicity has wonderful tips for the novice blogger
but it is late and I must wait for another day

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Inspiration comes from unexpected places - take this coffee cup for example.
It was painted by a Jeanne van Etten. 
I first saw Jeanne's work in Boston at a shop called La Ruche, 
owned by Apple Bartlett, daughter of Sister Parish.
My sister Betsy sold her work in this shop too.

I love to drink my tea and coffee from this cup.
The waves of color, dots and stripes inspired me. 
Soon it became a good luck mug - couldn't create without a cup of tea from this cup.

I remember vividly - a two room studio on Charles Street, five floors up, in a pre-civil war building, yes that's right, and a walk-up too, but it had five windows and two fireplaces, the rent was $325 in 1990, can you believe it.  We tried to keep it when we moved to Connecticut by subletting it - but we were found out ... so a memory... I still have a few pictures somewhere... I painted boxes and flower pots at that time - (I had a real job too and still do) - you should have seen the place when I was in full production-line mode.  I couldn't paint without a mug of tea in this fun Jeanne van Etten cup.

Later I bought more cups.  We use them every day. 

Cups that lost their handles become receptacles for pencils, pens, scissors etc.

I would see Jeanne at shows around Connecticut and would always buy more coffee cups and other stuff - look at this fun knife holder

My daughter and I loved our annual pilgrimage to Jeanne's studio in 
New Preston, Connecticut - we would buy a special cup for Isabel's teacher 
and something else for our house. 
Jeanne lives in Nantucket now - you can see her work on

Thanks for all the inspiration Jeanne 
I need more coffee cups!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Inspiration from my sister Betsy; 
she is the painter in the family.

My mornings are not complete without my coffee and The New York Times
so my sister Betsy painted me this good morning vignette.

and look at the perfect perch
tucked into the corner above the stairs
just waiting to say "good morning" every day
When Betsy was a new mother, she started painting and selling picture frames with her pen and ink sketches on the mats.  She sold to several stores in Boston, one being Apple Bartlett's store, La Ruche, on Newbury Street.  I was living in NYC then and thought she could sell in NYC too.  It is sometimes hard for an artist to market their own work, so I decided to walk up and down Madison Avenue one Saturday about 25 years ago pitching Betsy's work.  The Gazebo, on Madison Avenue, bought some frames - it was exciting. Betsy sold her work there for several years until the store closed. Betsy is still painting and working as a decorator.  I did not realize it at the time, but that day on Madison Avenue, pitching to stores, was the seed for my own entrepreneurial ventures.  It was just a matter of time before I started taking decorative painting classes at the Decorative Painting Studio, operated by Ina Marx.  I wanted a business that I could operate from home while being a mother.  And so MRR DESIGN was born in 1990.   
Take a look at Betsy's artwork on Betsy Powers Artwork
and Betsy's design work on

Monday, May 12, 2008

there is always hope

this post is for someone special to me

I checked the Hall's Dictionary of Subjects & Symbols in Art
there are many attributes of hope, among them, flowers, 
"in flowers, the hope of fruit to come is implicit"

Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune without the words,
and never stops at all.

Emily Dickinson

Here are the pure and honest comments of Marketa Irglova, winner with Glen Hansard of the Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Song, 2008

Ms. Irglova was forced off the the stage when time was up but host, Jon Stewart, brought her back to finish speaking - a wonderful gesture and she had a beautiful message that everyone who is trying and maybe not yet succeeding should remember.  Here it is:

"This is such a big deal, not only for us, but for all other independent musicians and artists that spend most of their time struggling and this, the fact that we're standing here tonight, the fact that we're able to hold this, it's just to prove no matter how far out your dreams it's possible. And, you know, fair play to those who dare to dream and don't give up.  And this song was written from a perspective of hope, and hope at the end of the day connects us all no matter how different we are."  Marketa Irglova

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Mother's Day 2008

Being a Mother is my greatest accomplishment

Today I am thinking about love, hope and inspiration

My mother was the first to inspire me - she had a great eye and sense of style.  She died too young.  I think of her often as I create and build my business.   I have five siblings.  We all remember different parts of her...which is so interesting to me...I discover new ways of seeing and remembering her.  
She would have been proud of her children.  I am so proud of my daughter

Mother's Day Strawberry Rhubarb Pie - delish
rhubarb from the farm up the road

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

So I finally feel like I am getting my groove back... does that sound like a recent New York Times headline about a well-known politician? Or a book title?  No connection, just liked the line, especially because I feel like I have just come out of hibernation.  Beginning in March, I jump-started my business and have been working feverishly - first pitching, then blogging, now creating.  Here is another new board - I call this fabric Mod Taj - can't remember the real name.
Every year, by the time Christmas arrives, I am a wreck - completely exhausted from the fever pitch of work... it takes months before I can return to the "studio" aka garage, but can you blame me - it is winter and I live in New England - the very small space heater just isn't enough and the short days just don't inspire me - I much prefer to snuggle on the couch near the fire.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Remember all those burlap bags blowing in the wind on my clothesline?  Back on April 24th.  I promised to show what was in the works and here it is: a memento board for the environmentalist, college student, or wheat germ/cave-man-shoe individual - I happen to eat wheat germ on my home-made yogurt every morning and wear the "cave-man shoes" because I my feet hurt a lot - so I don't feel like I am making fun of anyone with those descriptions. Anyway, I have a brisk custom order business from interior designers and decorators and individuals for decorative memento boards (fancy description for bulletin board).  Usually the fabric is a bit more genteel!   More of those pics to follow later in week.   

back to the burlap
an artistic blog friend pointed out early in the life of this blog, that my pics could do with a better background - I wholeheartedly agreed and took note mrs pve
one day I was reading design*sponge and took note of her comment about burlap as a good background to photograph against because of its nubby texture
Since design*sponge is right on the mark regarding all things decorative, I took her word and went out to find burlap - 
Earth day was on my mind and has I trolled around the internet looking for burlap I came upon this great source of used coffee bean bags and immediately ordered a dozen.
I was like a little kid when they arrived - the smell, the texture, and there were even coffee beans at the bottom of the bags.
I was ready to create my photo stage and the light bulb went off - 
I could cut up the sacs and create a whole new look for my boards
and maybe attract a new set of consumers
here's the pitch:
each time you check out your to-do board or your this-is-my-life board you will be reminded to REDUCE, REUSE, RECYCLE
see above the burlap does look good as the stage 
check out the other photos on april 28th and you can see the burlap effects

Monday, May 5, 2008

Look at those twirls - fun