Friday, April 30, 2010

nest egg

The view from this nest is pure bliss. Can you see the Hudson River in the distance?
Truly, this grand maison deserves a pve design illustration. Don't you agree?
This Sunny spot ( home of Washington Irving) is literally in my back yard, just a short skip, hop and a flight there. It is a favorite spot to fly to. I had the pleasure of a visit with a fellow Kentuckian today sharing some southern hospitality in New York.
I live near the Hudson River in New York. Well not on the water, but nearby where many incredible historic homes are situated. I like to refer to them as "big nest eggs." One of my favorite spots in the world is "Kykuit" - the dutch translation means "bird's eye view.
The gardens, the fountains, the art, the shrubbery are stunning.
I wonder if places like this will exist or are they a thing of the past?

The above historical homes are open to the public to visit.

All photos are property of pve design, Historic Hudson Valley, Kykuit, Sunnyside

My old Kentucky home

Growing up -Derby Day always meant it was time to spruce up your garden, and get out and enjoy the blue-grass.

Derby City, home to Louisville Stoneware mugs, The Derby and beautiful bluegrass.
As My Dad likes to say, "known for fast women and beautiful horses."

These are just a few lovelies from my old Kentucky Home.
Get those mint julep cups polished in time for a little luck.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Tenth Photo (just in time for Derby Day)

Debra kindly e-mailed me and asked if I would mind posting my "Tenth" photo from way back when I began my blog. To my surprise, I had posted Bonnie Cashin - she was a fashion designer known for her marvelously practical designs for Coach and then her own line.

Well Bonnie has just the sort of hat that would be perfectly chic for "The Kentucky Derby." I would wear it with a simple linen dress, minimal lines and some sort of chic open toe wedge and a straw bag would be just my kind of ensemble. Derby Day is Saturday, so tell me what would sort of hat would you wear. Play along, I know you want to! Let your inner Southern Belle all out!
L a d i e s a n d G e n t l e m a n ~
~ Instructions, Feel free to post your "tenth" blog photo or your favorite Derby Hat. I guess you could say I am all about being a bit of a rebel, or a free spirit fun loving fashionista.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

shifty thrifty

Shifting habits to be thrifty along with saving the planet are pretty nifty in my book. Small shifts, that is all it takes. Are you noticing that you are designing a better life, by shifting your habits? Well, if not, perhaps this is the book for you? Thanks to Art House Design, she spotted this book and thought of me. Thank-you.

What little shifts or good habits are saving you and the planet? It's ok, if you are a total spend-thrift? All I ask is that you be responsible for your habit in the form of a nifty comment.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

simply clean bee

Welcome Simplified Bee, I am so pleased she has joined me today sharing some wonderful solutions for bringing freshness or order to your home. It is not too late to Spring Clean, I know you will be inspired with these great tips!

Interview with "Simplified Bee"

1. Can you share a simple solution that has helped you to embrace Spring Cleaning?

Cleaning the windows, pulling out the patio furniture, and organizing wardrobe closets for warmer weather may be some of your Spring Cleaning projects. It’s easy to procrastinate on starting a large task especially when it's something we dread. Instead of having tasks that may take hours to complete, break it up into smaller tasks and create a check list to monitor your progress. Devote a set amount of time each week to focus on one task or room (i.e. closets, windows, kitchen pantry, etc.).To avoid getting overwhelmed you may consider limiting each task to no more than 30 minutes to complete. In addition, make it fun by turning on your favorite music or adding a stylish dose of color into your household cleaning supplies like the ones below from Alice Supply Co.

2. What would you suggest as a simple remedy for clutter?

Clutter is visually exhausting, so it is important that every item in your home have a place. This way you’ll be able to find it quickly when you need it and will avoid visual clutter.

Purging is really the most important step in organizing. Before you start to organize, identify what things are important to you and what's just taking up space. Here are a few questions to answer when determining whether or not to keep, recycle/trash or donate an item:

v Do you need it?

v Do you like it or does it have sentimental value?

v Will you use it or have you used it in the past 12 months?

v Do you have space for it?

You will be surprised to find out how many items you are holding onto that you don’t need, use and in many cases even l like.

3. I love some of the design tips you have on your site, do you have tips for setting up a home office for an artist?

Artists need office space that allows them to move, store supplies and be inspired. Lighting is critical and the more natural the better {love this open and airy home office above photographed by Rachel Smith}. When possible limit window treatments to simple shutters or blinds. If your office doesn’t get enough natural sunlight, invest in good recessed lighting or a stylish ceiling pendant. A task lamp may also need to be placed on a desk or project table to ensure adequate lighting.

Selecting the right furniture for your home office is also key. Pottery Barn has a great project table {above} that gives artist loads of work space and several storage options.


4. When did you realize you wanted to be an "Organizer?" How has organizing changed your approach to life?

After the birth of my first child I decided to pursue my dreams and went back to school to study interior design. In the process of having kids, learning design principles and picking up loads of toys I quickly realized I wanted to blend the two disciplines, organization and interior design. As a result, I launched Simplified Bee to share my combined expertise of organizational and design with others. My goal is to help my clients create order and efficiency through functional designs that are style savvy, yet practical and earth-friendly whenever possible.

Thank-you Cristen for sharing these super tips and letting us get to know you and your simplified tips for clutter remedy and living an organized life.

Monday, April 26, 2010

can do

On a recent trip, I snapped a shot of this cheeky pillow. Now, how great is that, words to gently provide just the right sort of confidence to your day. What sort of words would provide a "can do" sort of attitude to your pillow? My youngest has a series of school testing this week and how nice would it be to wake up to some incentives on your pillow.

This post automatically appeared shortly after my "change of face" post below. Please be so kind to read and leave a comment.

change of face

Lady Gaga goes Kermit Green
With so much talk the past months of the economy and of Lady Gaga, it seemed only appropriate to give Lady Gaga a spot on the cover of a one dollar bill.
100 dollar, Ben undergoes the least change of face
Last Saturday, while driving into the city, I happened upon an interesting topic on the radio, about the change of face of the American currency. A noted NY plastic surgeon was on pointing out the many differences with the "new money." Certain measures to further protect the security of our dollar against fraud have been taken and changes to the actual faces have undergone a sort of "surgery" or had a mere "face lift" while under the knife.

The plastic surgeon said that Ben Franklin had undergone the least amount of changes while the other faces had been changed, botox to the brow, slimmer jawline, puffy eye bags reduced, receding hair lines given hair and an overall slimmer more youthful appearance. Quite honestly, all these years and I grew rather fond of these famous fellows. What's up with the change of face, just to meet the needs of our youth obsession?

Tell me, how do you feel about the change of face? What are we telling our fore-fathers? Stay tuned this week, for the topic will be all about shekels, dinero and moo-la and spare change. What would you like to know about change? What woman would you like to see in your wallet?

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Sunday Song

pve design photo -taken at the New York Philharmonic
historical music sheet elegantly framed
pve design -illustration for blink decor, jazzy living room
note-cards available for purchase in my pve shop on etsy
Today, a lovely young lady shall be celebrating in song. Her Mother (a repeat client) came to me looking for help with some party planning and decorations to add some charm to the campus room on the grounds of the college where her daughter shall be singing and celebrating.

A banner constructed of black and white music sheets mounted on black construction paper, hand lettered, hand cut and strung with black and white polka dotted ribbon reads, "Congratulations." A sign which reads "Music is the sound of Life" following on the theme of music sheets, hand lettering atop with some glitter and tags to wrap around each centerpiece with lovely quotes all about music. The last time I attended the New York Philharmonic, I had loved the idea of a framed piece of music, so that is where my inspiration for utilizing music sheets began. I also feel that black and white makes a strong statement and is graphically pleasing to the eye.

Congratulations to "Coop" on this Sunday. May your love of music and the gifts you share radiate from your heart and provide everlasting harmony in life, enriching others with the magic of song.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

rhapsody in blue

One color that keeps playing over and over in my head like "Rhapsody in Blue" are all the beautiful shades of cobalt, aqua, turquoise and lapis and hydrangea blue. I want to add blue touches to my home and listen to Porgy and Bess. Blue is so friendly, don't you agree?
image found here.

Friday, April 23, 2010

rosy corner

I delight every spring when my roses begin to bloom. Years ago - my clever Father-in-law trellised my rose bush above my garage. Everyone comments on how they love it so. I will show it off again in May when the fairest roses bloom and the petals prepare to drop the softest blanket.

calm space

Each day, I aim to reward myself with a moment of what I like to call, "A still life." As a mother, life is anything but still, situations arise on a lark and the ability to reason, to decipher and to rationalize every little thing certainly helps to keep one on the prowl for that inner calm that no storm can shake.
One of my favorite paintings by Manet is this fair maiden, working at the Folies Bergere. This work was one of his last paintings and to me, it evokes a still calm in life's chaos. In the reflection behind this pretty maiden, is a hustling bustling room, full of dancers, acrobats, music, and party people. Look again, and there is a man who appears to be ordering a beverage. Look in the top left corner, do you see the green socked feet of the lady acrobat perched perilously above the audience on a swing.

The maiden seems to be unruffled, she has a look of calm, in her moment of a not so still room. The signature dish or clementines denoting nature, order and freshness. Perhaps tonight was her turn to work the bar and she would rather be on the trapeze or the stage but instead, she appears like an outsider, behind the bar, looking within.

This week, I am challenged to find that calm space, to know that whatever life serves me, that there is a higher order. Emotions pull me, one twin son fell on the tennis court and at first what seemed to be a fracture is now a sprain of not one but of 3 ligaments. The other twin son was awarded and inducted into the National Honor Society. All of these events took place in a matter of a mere 24 hours. I guess you can imagine my test to rise to meet each occasion with a certain "grace" under pressure. Just like the above maiden, with all the action around her, she is choosing to remain calm, to find that still space, perhaps unattached, numb, but feeling inspired to find a moment of contentment with the blossoms in her bosom.

The lilacs are waiting for me, to clip them, to bring them in, to arrange a still life in a hectic one. Take a look here to find more about the calm space. I am honored to have been noted for inspiration and for looking around me to find everyday beauty. Thank-you Karen.

What inspires you to bring about calm to your space in the midst of whatever life decides to serve you? I hope I have provided inspiration for you to pick some blossoms, arrange them as you like and leave a few to tuck in your bosom, just to see if anyone notices.
Perhaps that is all the woman wanted, was to see if anyone noticed her calm collected self.
Paintings by Manet, Lilacs in a vase, Woman behind bar

*Winner of the Mothering Mother bags, is Pretty Pink Tulips. Please congratulate Elizabeth with a comment and welcome her to the not so calm world of blogging. She is a newbie, so we all remember that feeling of mistakes, and not being pretty or good enough. C'mon, don't you?

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Mothering our Earth - giveaway

Yes, today is "Earth day" - and I happen to be armed and at the ready. A dear friend turned me on to these bags. "Mothering Mother" Earth is a good thing by saving and not wasting. Simply have these stowed away in your shopping bag to conveniently have on hand for storing produce.

Now they can be yours too, all you need to do is leave a comment and promise me that you are Mothering our Mother Earth today on Earth day.

~A winner shall randomly be selected and announced in friday mornings post.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


This swell spot is in a nearby village, just a "stones throw" away from me. We have smallish villages all neighboring one another without actually running into one another. Some villages are planned a little bit more carefully and can accomodate parking along with pedestrians. There are shops, dentists, bakeries, produce markets, pharmacists, hardware stores, coffee houses, a luncheonette or two, a florist and then if one is lucky, a clothier and even a second hand or consignment shop.

Growing up, I have the fondest memories of riding my bike to our village in Louisville, Kentucky. "St.Matthews." There was a fabric store that I loved to go to, the smell of the fabric dyes was so strong, I can remember my eyes burning and loving seeing all the new seasonal prints. I would plan my trip to "Woolworths" carefully. My Mother said one can always find something one needs in our village. We had "Chism's Hardware" and then above "Nanz and Kraft" florist, was my art teacher, Marie-Louise Schrodt. On the corner, was and still is "Top hat" liquor. The organic hippie food shop, "Rainbow Blossom" moved to a larger shop.

Mrs. Schrodt painted scenes of our village. She painted every sign, every puddle, everything as I remembered about my village, the way that it was. She was a realist, a single parent, an incredible teacher and she knew how to plan her palette and her paintings in her village studio. It was there in her studio that I heard stories of her Fashion days, she showed me her illustrations and she was very much apart of my village people. The last time I saw her, she had a showing in the building that used to be my elementary school. She had cancer and I knew it would be the last time I saw her but to me, she will always be one of my village people and I the villager.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

my lady

"Weeping Cherry Tree"- Original pve design 6 x 9 watercolor
Remember her, in all her loveliness, well I had to, I just had to capture her beauty on paper. I am thinking of adding this lady to my etsy shop, a 5 x 7 notecard. Any takers?


Weddings are all about lovey-dovey couples.
All that love waiting for a lifetime of bliss.
Just witnessing love's first promenade is good enough for me.
What is it about a wedding that makes you feel all lovey dovey?
These illustrations were requested by a special blogger who know's all about perfect beginnings.
(Another illustration of the lovey-dovey couple is on my drawing table waiting for my love.)

Monday, April 19, 2010

diamond cut

In my search for flooring, I happened to come across this gem. I think it would be fun for a small space, a laundry room or a small work space. There is something fun about the graphic diamond cut. Sure would wake me up on a Monday when it is time to hunker down and get to work. What do you think?

Sunday, April 18, 2010

serves me right

In my mind, I often remark of how I would love a servant, a cook, someone to serve me right. It seems that feeding twin sons, is like that of a bottomless pit. As soon as one meal is finished, I here rumblings of what is to eat? One thing which is always stocked are plenty of leafy greens to compose a salad, add chopped veggies, an egg, some nuts or dried fruits and maybe even a bit of "fromage" and these utensils are ready to serve me right away.

So, I turn to my trusty salad servers and delight in the price and in giving these as gifts. What do you have at the ready to quench your hunger and serve someone right away at the drop of a hat, or in my case, the drop of a drawing?

Saturday, April 17, 2010

in awe

I live a few minutes from this stunning tree and each Spring I go and stand there with my eyes wide open and my jaw dropped. My Grandmother was right, can there be anything greener than grass. I have this on my table to illustrate because I am in awe of Spring. Happy Spring.

Friday, April 16, 2010


painting by Carol Marine - "Maddie"
Weekends should be a time to run, let your hair down, smile and just enjoy little everyday wows.
What makes your weekend more "wowwy?"

house of cards

Just added to my etsy shop, an all the best notecard, (box of eight)- an image of an old world shop ~"Step inside this rare and vintage book shop filled to the ceiling with "All the Best" out of print books. Blank inside for your own all the best personal greeting.

Thursday, April 15, 2010


image from Carlee - Deliciously Organized
If this office were mine, even on my most jaded of days, I would immediately feel pretty swell walking into that space, all so deliciously organized. It sure beats the boring grey cubicle that I had during one of my New York design posts.
How about you, what color would make you feel a little less jaded and all the more enthusiastic about getting down to business?
Do you have a signature color or one that you are craving now?

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

cottage and vine

Just the other day, I spotted this wonderful cottage and vine and immediately knew that I had to illustrate it. How marvelous is that old oak tree. The owner told me it is 100 years old and soars upwards of fifty feet tall. Can you imagine how many games of hide-n-seek must be played there? The vine looks as if it has been draped over the doorway like an awning to welcome visitors. Do cottages like this draw you in like they do me?

corner to corner

Original pve design framed artwork, sold, pardon my "wonky" photography skills.

pve design - illustration
corner image from my design file of "things I love" - love the paper, that little sofa, and the corner table.

Sometimes we all need to grant our selves permission to leave our corner, and to go to another corner. Last night I ventured out to "Plates" located in Larchmont, NY -to meet Kristin van Ogtrop, Author of "Just Let Me Lie Down" as well as Editor of Real Simple Magazine. I am a bad judge of how many were in attendance, but let's say it was just the right amount given the spot which was charming as well as a place I would love to go back to for a night out.

When it came time for me to have my very own book signed, Kristin was so personable and funny. She asked where I had come from, and I truly did feel as if I had come from a distant corner, mind you a mere 9 miles away, just on the other side of Westchester County.

Meeting other women who Kristin coins as "half-insane" all out to give support, friendship and guidance as well as provide material for her humorous book. The insanity comes from balancing work, life, love, and Mothering. The women I met agreed that we were not half-insane but totally insane and loving our corners, not wanting to change a thing.

After the event, I was able to visit a dear friend, a Mom of twins just down the street, who has twin boys. The 5 year old boys had waited up for me (staying up a wee past the regimented bed-time hour) greeting me with bowls of popcorn and the family dog decided to come to sit beside me and suddenly I felt I was back in my corner.

So, tell me, is your corner half-insane or totally insane? Kristin, if you are reading, just for the record, I am about half-way into your book and laughing in my corner. I can relate to your corner of the world.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

looks real simple

This evening I will be attending a special event to meet Kristin van Ogtrop, and to pick up a copy of her book, "Just let me lie down"- at Plates in Larchmont, NY. She is one of those women that sure makes things look real simple.
I have always admired Kristin as a loyal subscriber to Real Simple. I shall report back on wednesday with a re-cap of the event.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Happy Birthday Mom

Today is my Mom's birthday. I cherish this photo. My Mother is an incredible woman, she has been married for 62 years, raised seven children, and never ceases to amaze me with all that she can do with a smile. Don't worry Mom, I will not divulge your age because I know how you like to keep us all guessing. Happy Birthday Mom.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Sunday shelf - chopping Spring onions

spring onions from "cookthink"

pve design - illustration for a cook
Several years ago my dear husband gave me the most wonderful gift, this chopping bowl and blade from here.
In mere minutes onions, garlic and spring scallions are chopped and ready to saute. Did you know that onions are one of the oldest vegetables? Many cultures believe onions have medicinal properties, antioxidants and remedy for a common cold or soar throat, some even believe they are an aphrodisiac!

Simply chop spring onions, saute or add to a salad and taste the freshness! Remember before chopping, wash the onions in cold water, light a candle nearby or wear ski goggles to avoid the tears when chopping! A mint or fresh parsley can remedy onion breath!

Enjoy your Spring Sunday!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

tuck me in

Tucked by a cozy window, ensconced in a good book with plenty of warm light and my feet up is my idea of the perfect morning weekend. The above vintage illustrations is one of my favorites, by R.Wilcox.
Fast forward to an adult sitting pretty sporting this lovely top which I found on etsy and it sold.
Off to the fabric shop and to make a pretty top with tucks. The delicate floral in tandem with the pretty pin-tucks adds a femininity to jeans. I love sewing pin-tucks. Tuck me right in that window seat with a stack of design magazines, and I will be happy. Care to join me?
Happy weekend to each of you.

Friday, April 09, 2010

drop anchor

seashell anchor from Wendy Addison - Country Living

The weather today reminds me of a perfect day to set sail and drop anchor.
Moored with a tall glass of fresh water with lemon.
A leftover salad. A good book and a stack of fresh magazines.
A new follower with an anchor logo caught my eye, cause for this post.
pve design photo - taken here
There are a few local spots I like to "sail" through and "drop anchor."
If I had a little bakehouse, I would love to have a wall of these glass jars. I do have "one" in my kitchen usually filled with something yummy. A fresh home-made cookie or a treat visible for after hungry after school children and hard working parents. Treats for the family pet. All visible. Perfect for storing such things as soap powder, or provisions.

What sorts of glass canisters make your life all a little clearer? Call me old fashioned, there is something about glass, the clarity and the phrases connected to glass make me smile.

"Glass half empty"

"Glass half full"

"People who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones."

"Glass ceiling"

What sort of glass would you drop anchor with, a half empty or half full?