Sunday, October 31, 2010

hallowed eve

This was taken last year on the night of Halloween. We were all lit up and ready for any trick-or-treaters that dare climb our scary stairs. I changed out the bulbs to purple strobes.
Spooky music was playing and treats at the ready.
The torches were lit up and down the drive-way to ward off any evil spirits and vampires.
We had a small jack-o-lantern and an electric pumpkin light in the window.
My Mom gave this electric light to me years ago. All it requires is an outlet.
There is something to be said for no carving, no mess.
I am not lazy, just busy - and this holiday seems to come and go so fast, that I barely have the chance to hang the skeleton and bring out the rats, which by the way are on the steps, hiding.
Happy Halloween to each of you!

Friday, October 29, 2010

celebrate- giveaway

It is Friday and that for me is reason enough to celebrate. Just take a look at this lovely little tea party over here in celebration of Gretchen's 100th post. In honor of celebrations, I have this wonderful book from REAL SIMPLE that I would love to give to one of you. All you have to do is leave a comment. What is the easiest entertaining tip that you would like to share.

Monday I shall post the randomly selected winner. Happy Weekend.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

cookies and milk

Never will I ever be too old for cookies and milk.
Did you know that the Oreo cookie has been around since 1929.
kitchen by tommy smythe
Imagine sitting pretty in this kitchen eating an oreo.
I spy a glass of milk on the table. It looks like a familiar site in my house.
My boys drink lots of milk and are always on the prowl for a cookie.
kitchen by tommy smythe
I am loving kitchens that have a contrast of dark and light.
Love the black painted window and the array of potted herbs on the sill.
Stainless steel looks right too.
Note the dark bottoms and the light upper cabinetry.
Do you think the ubiquitous oreo cookie might have been the inspiration for this kitchen?
What is it about black and white just looking timeless and right?
I am not the only one floored by black and white. Look what Jenny has today.
Who knew that an oreo cookie would inspire so much!

jet setter

Meet "Jet Setter" - a recent illustration for JMcLaughlin. The ubiquitous lightweight wool scarf for drafty planes, a western shirt layered over the catalina stripe top and an easy stretch satin skirt and opaque tights. Add some bangles and a zippy belt, and you are good to go.

How about you? What is your favorite "jet setter" look for travel?

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

simple steps

Many of you know that I have been keeping a "wellness" journal which has helped me to record and to follow my progress and passion for living well, eating right along with making time for exercise.

A wonderful reader inspired me with this quote;
"One body, One mind"

I would like to suggest to each of you, to set up simple steps to incorporate an activity into your weekly agenda. I found this on-line and thought these four simple steps might inspire each of you.

What simple steps are you taking to add to your wellness?


There is something charming about creating a "still life" with wee pumpkins and a well loved copper pot. What sort of pot will hold the candy for your trick or treaters?

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

truly nuts

There is one thing that I am truly nuts for and that is "True North" 100% Natural nuts. A handful certainly banishes hunger pangs and is a wonderful healthy snack. I found them today at our local grocer. This post was not intended to hurt anyone with any sort of nut allergy nor was there any help from Frito Lay who makes this product. Although I would not mind one bit if they would like to sponsor a starving artist. Well I have always loved the idea of starving or craving something all natural.


"treat" money- pve design illustration
I have a wonderful money memory from my childhood that I would love to share. If my memory serves me correctly, I was in the third grade and we had lots of freedom to ride bikes and time to play. There was a market "Roppels" that I loved to ride my bike to for a "treat."
On occasion, I would ask my Mom for twenty-five cents to go and get a candy bar. My Mom would have to get her "pocket-book" and give me treat money. One of my favorite candy bars was "pay day." It was a treat to ride to the store and to be greeted by the store owner. I think somehow there was a secret language that parents and store owners had in regard to treats. We were only allowed one treat and it was not an everyday event.

As Halloween approaches and the infllux of treats in our homes becomes one part temptation and the other pure cavity tricks for a Dentist to fill. I am suddenly reminded how certain formative experiences shape who we become. Perhaps the age old expression, "like a kid in a candy store"- rings a bell for many of you.

A "treat" should be something to work for, some sort of reward. I thank my Mother for instilling strong values. How do you deal with "treats" at your home.

Monday, October 25, 2010

falling for

Are you falling for fallen piles of leaves?
I fall for falling leaves every year.
Images to fall for over here.

I love how Fall leaves look inside too.
I took this photo last Fall after brunch in NY.

I am falling for a pair of russet leather Frye boots, they remind me of my first pair worn in college.

Love to fall into this well loved leather chair from here.
We would be fast friends at the end of the day.
What are you falling for?

Saturday, October 23, 2010

white house gifts

There is nothing better than that of having hand-made gifts at the ready. These lovely hand-made pots were made by Catherine White for First Lady Obama to give as gifts. The canisters are to hold loose chamomile tea. The gifts are symbolic of the White House garden.
Can you imagine the thrill of making each one by hand for such an honorable order. As an artist, I grapple with giving and truly feel that a hand-made gift is such a special treat. Do you have any plans to give hand-made gifts this holiday.

Let's share ideas for giving hand-made this year. If you have something you would like to share, please feel free to contact me. I would love to see what other artisans have in store to give.

inside out

The work of Abelardo Morell is the current exhibition at Bonni Benrubi in New York City.

I can't decide if it is inside out or upside down but I do know I love Autumn in NY inside and outside.
Love this shot. Truly shows the silhouette shadow reflection on a gravel rooftop floor. Look at the bottom left hand corner and see the gravel. Have a good weekend, get outside or inside and see what is in the galleries near you.

Friday, October 22, 2010

under construction

Things are under construction at my place. Just wanted to share a few views for you. We have been working hard to make this happen and I am so excited to show you the before and after.
This pretty accessory arrived today. Every home needs a royal flush, right?
Here is the CAT machine excavating and clearing away for the new construction where my studio will be. Yep, a studio dedicated to "pve design." Can you feel my excitement. There is something exhilerating about adding a new space to a home. I will share snippets along the way. I will be here watching every step. It is like having a new baby.

Architect Design

How thrilled was I to see that Stefan Hurray of Architect Design was also one of the top 10 Design blogs on Fox News. As the artist behind his header, I feel a connection to Stefan and his love for Architecture and Design. Congrats Stefan, I know that we will be seeing more great things to come from you in the future.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

the tops

I am so thrilled for Ronda of "All the Best blog" ~Please join me in congratulating Ronda on making the Top 10 list for Fox News. Well deserved to "All the Best blog." I illustrated Ronda's blog header long before I had a blog and she convinced me to begin a blog. Thank-you Ronda and wish you continued success and many more top awards.

custom monograms

There is something very special about having one's very own custom monogram. Monograms on paper, linen, towels, or napkins seem to be turning up everywhere. Perhaps we are all searching fo some much needed personalization in this computerized world.

Do you need a custom monogram? I can design and illustrate one for you, all I need to know is the font, script or block, your favorite flower, animal, thing, and the colors? How pretty would this be on white linen or porcelain? Contact me directly to design one of your own or for a special gift. I look forward to sharing some special signature monograms with you!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

point of view

view from left
When a request comes to me to illustrate a home, these are the sort of shots that I like to work from. Starting at the left, capture an image of the home. Notice how the trees in this image lead your eye directly to the home.
center view
This one was taken standing straight in front. Straight-on!

view from the right
Then stand to the right. One can see what sorts of things might block or add interest to the overall image. Go back to the top image and the property seems flat, right?
Funny how all three images can show different points of view.

As an artist, it is hard to work from one image, I usually need at least 3 points of view to gather and collect details to add to the finished artwork.
Tell me - which one of the above photos would make the best work of art?
We all have unique view points.
I will then come back later this week to share the final art.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

drive bye

A recent commission for a client who wanted to give her neighbor a keepsake work of art of their home as they are moving. She let me know today how much her neighbor loved the thought along with having a special memory of her old drive.

I love how a street, an avenue or a drive or a boulevard can hold so many memories. Saying good-bye to a home is never easy, but celebrating a home with a keepsake work of art can really make the move sweeter.

Monday, October 18, 2010

tweed ride

Have you heard about the "Tweed Ride?" I find it fascinating that people of all ages will ride donning their tweediest fashions.
I can imagine wearing a tweed jacket or vest and some sort of pant with a bit of lycra and perhaps even a tweed bike helmet! I love herringbones and houndstooths and tweeds for Fall.
What would you wear to the tweed ride?

Saturday, October 16, 2010


pve design artowork - a commission of "Dewey" for private client
I was honored to illustrate this lovely horse last year.
Growing up in Kentucky and living nearby Rock Creek Riding Stables, I always loved visiting the stables, admiring the riders and the horse shows. I enjoyed going to Churchill Down's too.
Horses are such amazing animals. Many artists are inspired by their beauty.
My dear and talented friend Elizabeth Belliveau has created some incredible works of art for winning horses. Does your horse need a winning tribute?
With an image of your choice...
housed within a custom round
quilted suede and embroidery
panel frame 26 3/4 x 26 3/4
black clay gold carvings, graphite panels
adorned with fly whips and decorative metal
I love the hardware and the elegant silk & suede used in these stunning pieces. Can you see them hanging in a library or a Riding Club? Perhaps every young rider or equestrian would dream of having their winning horse hanging in their very own room.
We saw "Secretatariat" last night and loved it. Have you seen the movie? All I want to draw now are horses, strong women and men wearing funny hats. Does your thoroughbred need a special work of art or did that movie make you want to own a winning thoroughbred?

Friday, October 15, 2010


On this friday in the month of October, I wish each of you a wonderful weekend full of merry-making, romping outdoors, raking leaves and "festing." Celebrate October.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

ye old shoppe

Love this cartoon. Everyone knows that the smallest change in any village storefront or home requires meeting planning laws and the Architectural review boards. I had a good chuckle with this cartoon which reads;
" Damn me! I knew they'd get past those planning laws somehow."
A recent illustration for J.McLaughlin on Madison Avenue. (One of the original shops) Ye olde shoppe just had a face lift, a new awning, a new lantern and a touch of green. Next time you are on Madison Avenue strolling, step inside and see what oldies but goodies are in store.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

reclaimed love

Vintage letters, found on etsy and put on display to show one's love.
There is something special these days about using reclaimed wood, herringbone, brick and stone.
A platter of fresh figs even takes on the personna of reclaimed wood or stone.
I would use these reclaimed shutters to hold the place cards

for a dinner party or wedding in a barn like this.
Party favors, how about a jar of honey or apple butter to take home.
The table numbers are old playing cards, mounted on burlap and framed in vintage frames.
How sweet would they be on the tables.
An old copper oil can for the bride and groom to put their rings on.
Nothing like reclaimed love.
How would you reclaim your autumn love?
What sort of vintage or recycled props would you use?

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

old is new

I won this lovely bag and it arrived just in time for the weekend. I had a visitor who commented that it needed to be "cleaned." I replied, no, it is meant to look old explaining that old is new and very in vogue.

Yes, honoring the old is new again. Timeworn seems to be the one word that I spot trending in fashion. From patinated boots, to reclaimed wood floors, things that have a "patina" of age to them look right. Recycling something old and giving it a new twist seems fresh and right for today.
In a time of economic and political challenges, designers are faced with challenges of trying to make something new look familiar. Dyeing a white tablecloth black seems modern and appropriate for a Halloween table.
There is a newfound respect to bring back an element out of your Grandparent's attic or barn and honor that with a nuance to make it suddenly look modern.

This week, I shall be devoting my posts to things that have a timeworn or well loved flair. Please feel free to share with me your most treasured new item that has that old is new again appeal.