Friday, February 29, 2008

smiles down under

A smiling table-scape!

Anna smiles and designs down under
Inspiration comes in the shape of smiles to me.   Smiles from down under each and every day motivate me to create absolutely beautiful things.  Anna has the talent for keeping me jumping with joy as she has many wonderful images and ideas all in her store, her home or her incredibly deep pocket of ideas for interiors of the heart.

Anna posts not just beautiful, but absolutely gorgeous things that make me smile and feel love,
life and laughter.  Effortlessly ordered arrangements take on new meaning as they make new friends atop a chest, a "table-scape" or a wall.  I just imagine her as "Cream rising to the top"
as she has a way of editing and bringing a careful yet carefree order to her world down under in Australia.  Makes me want to hop right down there and see her in action.

I was inspired to paint these images and then send them to her.   Anna posted them last year before I had joined the blogosphere.  Her attitude made me feel gratitude to connect and begin my blog.  Thank you for your encouragement and your smiles.   As my mother always reminds me that "Smiles add years and sighs take them away" so I encourage each of you to smile at life.

Smile at what makes you happy.  Step aside from the laundry, that pile of toys, the dirty sink and make yourself some tea and time to visit Anna.  You will suddenly feel younger as you smile your way through absolutely beautiful things.  Click over and have a "gooday mate"
Thanks Anna for inspiring me with smiles deep down under!  
Wishing you a sweet and lovely day.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

project pve design way

The other day while organizing my portfolios, I came across one of my projects from college.
Often, I really cannot stand to look at my work until years later and then it all comes rushing back to me.  These fashion illustrations were part of a project that would address the needs of a working woman ( Yes it was during the 80's- note those shoulder pads!) and I have always loved big city black and white style.  As a child, I would visit fabric stores and dream of fabrics, notions, and sewing machines. (I will save this for another post dedicated to fabrics)  Guess I would have been a perfect candidate for project runway, but then again, maybe not.  Could I handle the pressure and all that scrutiny?  Knowing what I know now, I think I would love it.

This project was a really satisfying one for me as I was about to move to the big bad apple and these dresses, coat dresses, I might add really came in handy for my interviews.  My favorite memory was meeting my in-laws sporting the black and white glen plaid and I was even brave enough to wear red stockings.   I have always admired classics with a twist.  I need to feel part of the class, but a little artsy side needs that spark to really complete me.  I call it the pve design way.  Do you have a special way that completes your project to make it your very own?

Wednesday, February 27, 2008


Carrie Donovan was a great lady of style.  She was a top Fashion editor and discovered many great designers and models in her day.  She loved finding talent, as she introduced Elsa Peretti to Tiffany.   Madame Donovan accessorized herself with turbans from Halston, Cuffs from Peretti, large Pearls and dressed in classics.   She was loved by everyone as she made every designer " feel good" - now who wouldn't like that?   When she walked into a room, you could hear her large bracelets or cuffs clang and you could smell her sweetness, she loved good perfume.  Often, french words would roll off her tongue in a "tres" chic manner.  If she liked something, she would say, "I'm mad about it!"  I met her several times while I was working as a design assistant at Ralph Lauren and she was always a lady.  Larger than life, a grande doyenne and arbiter of style.


A  writer must write for one and touch thousands.  They need to withdraw and to express something from deep within themselves.  They hear voices that others do not.  Listening urgently to what others cannot hear.  The process of a writer is akin to magic.  A magical friend of mine is writing and working towards a book.  Feeding and fueling a passionate desire.  I witness the arduous task and lonely road of writing and the dedication to listen to the voice.
A voice that I hear and speak to nearly every day is that of a dear and kind friend who is a writer.  Kwana writes everyday.   I am grateful to her for honoring me with my illustration as her masthead.

We met years ago and it was fate that brought us to one another.  We share so much in life.   Ordinary people on an extraordinary path, both facing the blank paper with fear, with excitement, all the while, listening to a unique voice from within.  Acknowledging her precious voice and special friendship gives me gratitude for the good and the bad each and every day.  I am grateful for her daily words.  Please take a moment to visit my friend and send her a comment.  You will be so grateful that you met a beautiful voice and her little mascot, Jack.

greener grass

As we anticipate Spring and the grass turning green, our thoughts take us outside to the garden and we prepare to make plans for landscaping.  These illustrations were done to show an idea for an expanded deck and areas on a property.  Planning to plant a garden and then to see the design happen makes for greener grass.
Are you thinking about Spring and trips to the garden and Nursery for new Spring garden ideas?
After all, the grass really is greener on the other side!

Monday, February 25, 2008


And the Oscar goes to me!  ( that is  pure statue envy here.)

Statuesqueness inspires me.  From the time I was a little girl, my mother loved to bring me (and a loaf of stale bread) to the Cave Hill cemetery to feed the ducks, admire the swans and the statues erected in loving memory.   We also visited the Speed Art Museum and I admired the Thinker, by Rodin.  I often dreamed of what my very own statue would look like and thought about my very own statue.  I also love the Mermaid Statue in Copenhagen and how she would love to just be free to swim.

Give me a really splendid statue to marvel at anytime.  This illustration was made to honor a women living with time for a really great rhyme.  I also love the way a statue takes on a certain patina over time. Ponder the statue of Liberty with her torch and glorious crown in honor of liberty, a gift from France to the U.S. We all need to take a stand for something. What would your statue look like?  Do you have someone in mind that needs a gift, perhaps a statue will do.  What a nice way to pay a statuesque homage.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Sunday Supper

I am "manifesting" this dining room as the perfect place for a Sunday Supper.  My dear sister gave me her meatloaf recipe which has always been  a comfort food.  Served with a side of mashed potatoes, healthy green spinach, salad and rolls with fresh butter.  Even the finest restaurants are serving simple home-cooked recipes to bring back classic comfort food.
Mary's Meatloaf

1 1/2 lbs. ground beef
1/2 onion, coarsely chopped
3/4 c. oatmeal
2 eggs
1/3 c. ketchup
2T. worcestershire sauce
1 T. soy sauce
1/2 tsp. salt

Combine onion and oatmeal in processor and process until onion is finely chopped.  Add eggs,
worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, and ketchup and salt.  Place ground beef in mixing bowl and pour contents of processor bowl over meat.  Mix all ingredients and shape into a loaf on a baking sheet.  Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes, then top with 1/3 C. ketchup mixed with 1 T. worchestershire sauce. Continue baking for 40 minutes. Allow to sit for 10 minutes when finished.

My wish list has always held the desire for a blue dining room.  I am mad for the shade of blue of this room, the eclectic assortment of chairs, and the chandelier!  Enjoy this recipe and remember, no elbows on the table!  

Friday, February 22, 2008

you make my day

Thank-you to each of you, who make my day sunny and bring me to a beautiful spot!  I am inspired by you and the fact that you stop by and visit me to see my latest posted illustration or short story.  It is like I have my very own built in trainer to crack the whip and stay motivated to post, to draw, to be blogger fit, ready for the beach in that brand new virtual bikini.  Virtual, yes.

My illustrations have always provided me with my very own travel agent, florist, fashion designer, right at my fingertips, I can be transported in a matter of minutes. 

Blogs do that too, they take me away to another world, of inspiration and sunny, happy places! A special thanks of gratitude is given to fellow bloggers for "you make my day" by telling me that I make your day! 
Thank-you to;
All the Best for selecting me and encouraging me to join the blogosphere.  Ronda, you are a gracious host and mentor in the blogosphere.  I visit you every day and smile when I see the mast-head that I illustrated, long before I had even thought I was blog worthy. 

 Claudia, from 
The Crafty Weasel also made my day by awarding me the "you make my day" award.  I am glad that you visit for inspiration and that I inspire you.  Truly, it is good Karma.  What goes around, comes around.

I now need to dedicate a post to those of you that make my day.  Growing up in a large family, I would always ask my Mom, which one of us do you love the most?  My mom never gave me an answer but she always made my day be telling me a simple, "each of you make my day!" Hence, you see my dilemma but I promise, I will post a list of my absolute favorites even though each of you truly make my day!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

glass slippers

Every girl needs a pair of glass slippers and for "Alexis"- I illustrated a perfect pair to use as thank-you cards for her Bridal Shower. Personalized with her name in hand lettered calligraphy.  Each border was hand-colored in a rainbow of colors to choose from.  Cinderella would have loved these notes!  In fact these cards were a gift from her very good Mother.  A wicked gift indeed!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Japanese Garden Illustration

Picture yourself taking a stroll through the Japanese Garden.  You pass by the Pagoda and enter the gate and see perfectly manicured blossoms, carefully raked rocks forming gentle waves.  Birds chirp and the breeze is calm.  The water fountain trickles and the koi fish below swim with delight.  The sun is here a little longer today.
Spring, right through the gates, at your beckon call.  I am so anxious for Spring, how about you?
I will be sharing some more of my illustrations for Spring and I hope you like this little Japanese Garden.  A garden tour awaits you.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Mellow Yellow

Please allow me to introduce you to my dear friend, Mrs.Blandings.   She keeps a lovely tidy blog full of wit, whimsy and charm regarding love of decor, design and architecture and a friendship of all things yellow. Fate has brought us together, though we have actually never even met in person.  She is a dear one, bringing me into her home, showing me her latest projects from A to Z.    Often she seeks good counsel which humbles me.
Her daily words speak to me, the love of raising sons and being a good citizen while steadily balancing a home, and a blog, (and a dog with an itch)!  Her collective canvas runs deep, as she is an avid needle pointer and a love of rare finds from horns to spheres.  She is never sardonic, but quick witted, yes, honest and straightforward, right around the bend and down that lane. Her approach to life is a clever, one born of good stock and rock solid.  She has brought me to laughter as well as to tears.
Surely you must have met her selecting just the right shade of yellow in the hardware store.
Now, be a dear and tell me that you know her.  If not, you really should, I know you would get along famously.  She has been a dear to me and posted so many of my illustrations inspired by her mellow yellow world.  
Now, please leave a comment, a limerick, a riddle or a recipe for dear Mrs. Blandings.  I must go check the "roast" in the oven for I smell something burning.  Be a good citizen and leave a word or two for the dear.   She deserves a good roast served with some fresh "dijon" mustard and clever side dish or a tip about apples, especially macs.

Monday, February 18, 2008

two boys

Today is a special day, my twin boys are fifteen years young.  I remember how anxious I was for them to arrive and had no idea how I would fall madly in love with them from the moment I saw them.   How could I possibly have more room in my heart for another love, like a candle the flames just grew twice as bright.    I have been doubly blessed with two boys, twin brothers. Fraternal twins, like the sun and the moon, opposite but very dependent on  
 one another.                                   
A unique and special bond which they have shared from the start.   They share a room and love of sports, attend the same school and friends too.  To this day, they                                                                                                  have a tight twin -ship. 
Happy Birthday boys, you will always hold a special spot near and dear to my heart!   
The  oil painting is titled "Two Boys" by Frank W. Benson dated 1926 from The Metropolitan Museum of Art and reminds me of you two boys.
I am proud of you both and wish you smooth sailing throughout the year!  
xoxo- Mom!

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Weekend Wanderer - Proud American

Proud American Flags are flying this weekend for the three-day weekend in honor of President's Day.  

American Flags appear in many of my illustrations as well and to me they are symbolic,"proud to be American!" Perhaps if we show that we are proud, the power of positive thinking will fix all the hurt, the economic uncertainty, the strife of the war, and bring us together as one nation in harmony.  Peace to each of you and may you all enjoy this three-day weekend with those you love with pride.  Tell someone that you are proud of them for serving,  for leading, for stepping up to be President, for hanging a flag, or for simply being an good citizen and recycling or simply making a bed.  Pride is as contagious as a smile.  Spread the word and I will be proud of you!

Do you hang the American Flag with pride all year or only on certain Holidays?  

Friday, February 15, 2008

Chateau de bachen

Just the word Chateau inspires me, be it a Chateau or Chateaubriand or Chateauneuf-du- Pape!  I am not alone when it comes to being inspired by all things french as fellow blogger Joni from Cote de Texas has a passion and "joi de vivre" for french decor.
I wonder what she would design given this "Chateau!" I immediately think of Joni when I think of anything French.  She has a special touch.  A french touch down in Texas.  The french also love Texas, cowboy boots, classic westerns, and a smokin bbq.

I was inspired to illustrate this "Chateau de Bachen"  - which belongs to Chef Michel Guerard who has 3 stars for his magnificent cuisine.   Visit the site for a taste of France and listen for a taste of Spring.
Trust me you will be as inspired as I and you  can also visit Cote de Texas and feel tres francais!

Tell me, do you have a penchant for French?

Thursday, February 14, 2008

unexpected red

An unexpected red brightened my day.  It came delivered to my door- A hot little red pot bequeathed to me by an artist, a mentor and friend.  A little something that she no longer had need nor want for. Visit this talented landscape painter,  Ellen Hopkins Fountain  and be prepared to take a trip along the Hudson of breathtaking landscapes. Remember to surprise someone you care for with an unexpected red visitor, especially today, on Valentine's Day.
Poppies, Roses, Chocolate, Hearts a Kiss or a landscape painting would suffice.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

1 potato, 2 potato equals charm

Cipe Pineles was an inspirational graphic designer as well as art director back in the 50's when the field was predominantly dominated by men.  She was a friend to many illustrators as well as photographers finding work to be published.  I have always admired the work of many graphic designers as they see things in a pared down way.  It is about the type but it is also about the story and discovering the medium that will illustrate or photograph the images for that story or cover.  
Cipe was austrian and she loved the challenge of using new mediums to portray the story or the cover.  I can only imagine that Cipe must have been in the middle of making a charming potato salad.  

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

white house

Snow covers this white house in a blanket of white. As I post this illustration it is snowing outside so I thought this was appropriate.   This classic colonial was illustrated for a client to give as a homecoming gift.  Treat yourself to an illustration of your home or a childhood home.  Custom note cards may also be printed for stationary.  
Perfect for a new home or a change of address greeting card.

folk heart

Be it ever so humble, Amy of Design DNA sparks my imagination with her love of found objects and witty collections.  She posts her findings of feathers, vintage charms, architectural passions and hand-made items that she creates along with other artists that inspire her.   A simple folk to heart.  As a child she would rake leaves, gather moss, and collect her items into an architectural gathering.  A collective canvas leading to three dimensional terrariums.
Something about her work is growing on me.  (Most of all, I treasure her humbleness.)
Her work has a macabre wit, soaring with creative ingenue, yet all contained with an orderly restrain.   Look to design dna, for she has lit upon some exciting finds.

I illustrated an idea of Amy raking up her findings
to collect for her next - bigger project-
this folk heart has wings to soar.
below is a photo of one of her creations which hope springs eternal.

Monday, February 11, 2008

come fly with me

Soon, this little birdie will come fly with me.  Design dna (another blogger) posted this and I could not stop thinking about this little rockin robin.  My collection of birds and loving all things bird-like is rapidly growing.  I shall be posting about design dna soon.  She has a pocket full of designs in her genes and they inspire me. 

making it extra lovely

photo - before
Illustration - after!
Designer extraordinaire from "Pink loves brown" and keeper of the flame at 
making it lovely recently sent me a photo of her home cute home and I was thrilled that she posted my little work.  
As the saying goes, "birds of a feather flock together" and I fly over to Nicole's lovely little nest to see the latest before and after of her home, or a fun and clever design that she has just managed to whip up effortlessly.  I guess when passion is your motivator to design and surround yourself by making it lovely, all the rest follows suit.  After all, creating an artful life is what we all are striving for.  Nicole is what dreams are made of!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Give yourself a hand

  As an artist, we all have self doubt, fear and joy in our work and we live for a little applause from our creations.  One of the most lovely things to me are "hands" - they are practical, 5 fingers for grasping and idea and executing it.  They are gorgeous to adorn with a ring or two or even a glove.  Hands down, they do not lie, when we are nervous, they tell us, when our hands are happy, our work shows it.  These beauties are perfect for illustrating hands or for using as a prop for accessories.  I love the simplicity of the wood and the fact that they can be posed to your liking.  Go ahead and give yourself a hand, even if you are alone and reading this.  We could all use a little pat on the back now and then, or an extra pair of hands.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Fill me up with style

Smitten with a new catalogue that just arrived, Serena and Lily.   Simply click on the link to request a FREE catalog from Serena & Lily  Bringing babies home was a wonderful memory for me as well as preparing the nest.  One will find clarity, quality and hip style at Serena and Lily.  I especially love the way they name each room and list the qualities that the name implies as well as simple design tips.   My mother always told me that having a baby or a freshly decorated room was like falling in love all over.  Get ready to be smitten and want another baby just to have the room.  On second thought, maybe not now that I have teenagers.   Automobiles, Gas and insurance are waiting just round the bend for me.  Fill me up with fresh decor!  Take a look at the new book out by the dynamic duo.

sel et poivre

Don't be afraid of salt and pepper.  Every dish is improved when you add them.  This doodle 
is from my sketch-book.  I adore micron pens and use them all the time.  My family hates them because when you write or draw you have to hold them straight up, otherwise the tip of the pen goes all askew and then the line is blurry.  There are a variety of tips available for thickness of line.
Next time you "doodle" - take along a micron pen, a sketchbook, (a napkin will do in a pinch) and add a grain of salt to your day, or spice it up with the twist of the pepper mill.  

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Slow down and look

The "slow movement" is picking up in areas of living from travel, cooking, religion, schools and even the internet.   Many articles as well as web sites are gaining speed in regards to slowing down or doing things that make one in less of a "hurry."
One can spend so much time actually doing that one does not take the time to slow down and enjoy the process.  
My sister took a painting class and her teacher would always say in her broken english, "More look, no paint."  I encourage each of you to slow down and look.  If you look closely at this brownstone, the owner and her dog are taking it easy and enjoying the day.  When was the last time, you stopped to slow down.   Allow yourself time to take a minute and to honor life in slow motion.  You will be surprised at what you see.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Cape Cod Gray

Cape Cod Gray is the epitome of chic, especially when it comes to the color for a home like this.
I love the way it works with the stone masonry.  I enjoyed illustrating this home and my client is very excited as she is having note cards printed for personal use.  You too may desire to have your home illustrated  to use as a memento, hanging in a prominent spot of honor.

love birds

love is in the air at pve design and the first two love birds who chirp will be sent a dozen original love bird note cards.  be an early bird and post your comment. you may e-mail me your address so that the birds may fly home to you.
valentines day is the perfect day to share the love!

little miss

Every little miss needs a comfy crib.  Ever so pale are the walls and a delicate branch with excellent roots provides spring blooms all year long.  A papillion, a tiny wren, a nest are waiting to be spoken to.  
Guaranteed, no spiders to scare little miss away.
Sugar and spice and everything nice, now that's what little girls are made of.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

cat's meow

I painted this lovely delicate branch for a sweet little girl.  This is her cat, he is sitting patiently waiting for this little birdie to be his supper.  My client sent this to me to show that  I had fooled the cat.  What flattery.  The palest of pink room is a welcome resting place for this cat as well as all who visit.  Hand painted glass ornaments hang from wrought iron filagree brackets. For this girl, it's the cat's meow!

coffee with danish, please.

yes, love a good danish with my coffee as a special treat.  love this 
Royal Copenhagen service no. 1, love it for the 1,197 brush strokes by hand.
lovely for breakfast,
lunch or dinner.

for the love of chocolate

funny, how one can become obsessed with "comments" - whereas before my blog it would never have occurred to me to even care about a comment.  well fellow blogger, design mom had a whopping 783 comments for a post from friday, february 1st on a chocolate give-away.  For the love of chocolate, anyone care to comment on that?  

Monday, February 04, 2008

stretch your mind

When was the last time you stretched your mind?  An exhibit that has caught my mind will be opening at one of my favorite museums, The MoMa in New York City.  "Design and the Elastic Mind" will no doubt blow your mind to look at the way we as artists and scientists are able to produce unlimited ideas with change in mind.  The Exhibit opens February 24th, mark your calendar.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

yoga devotee

Thought I would share this lovely photo of a friend of mine who has many gifts and has recently launched,
If you are thinking of a special gift, why not do something for your mind, your body and for the good of others.
She is an amazing person.  Gorgeous from the inside out!  Special adventures for you are waiting.
She has inspired me to save for a gift!