Thursday, December 22, 2011

a pale christmas...

a nautral color palette inspired by robins egg blue, white flowers and pale greenery,  perfect for keeping my bedroom a calm retreat over the by john bessler

Monday, December 19, 2011

my family style christmas

On this icy cold day, I remember my brother Dennis taking all the kids out to get the Christmas tree in his vintage pickup as I'm preparing for Christmas Eve with the family at my home...while  pulling out all the old family photos + home movies of Christmas' past, I  found these favorites from my "White Christmas" book...still love these shots by William P Steele!  Hope your Christmas is as warm and filled with family Christmas memories as mine!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

a wing chair by the fire

a leather wing chair by the fire, candlelight, and paperwhites ... simple styling for the holidays...
photograph by jeff mcnamara

Sunday, December 11, 2011

branches and berries

I love buying simple roping and green wreaths at the local farmstand or garden center, and then adding lots of berries and branches to add texture and subtle color...I like to harvest privet berries from the hedges, snips of cedar and pine and cypress and tuck them into the wreaths or baskets for the doors ...the natural smell of the greenery always says christmas to me!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

10 favorite things

getting my gifts ready for christmas and love these choices from the new general store:
1. sheepskin rug $60
2. rosemary olive oil in wood crate $40
3. wood pruning shears $25
4. cream colander  $28
5. wood pizza peel  $18
6. washed cotton bath salts  $21
7. wedgwood stoneware juicer $20
8. zinc thermometer $21
9. paperwhite candle $15
10. belgian linen waiters apron $50

you can shop online at

Sunday, December 4, 2011

a long island christmas

bringing the christmas tree home
love putting the tree on the porch... scallop shells + little white  lights are
perfect for this seaside setting,  keeping it simple and natural
stacks of creamy hand knit sweaters + blankets are stacked on this table in the entry of this country house
a simple sprig of greens + pine cones on the screen door
a collection of  vintage handblown glass carafes + glasses are stacked on an old wood cabinet in the kitchen...a danish ship's lantern hangs above  + a bunch of white hyacinths is a  classic scandinavian holiday touch
photographs by jeff mcnamara;  meadowcroft, west sayville, long island

Friday, November 25, 2011

a few favorite things

stoneware bowls, linen napkins,  teak cake servers and rustic glass bottles...a few of our favorite things at the new general store event this saturday on long island...please visit us here or online at

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

spicy pumpkin soup

making gallons of this soup  for our new general store event on sunday...i found the recipe on ronda
carman's all the best blog last year and it has become a staple in my house this fall easy, so delicious, so comforting on these cool days.

spicy pumpkin soup

3 1/2 cups vegetable stock
1 cup whipping cream
30 oz. canned pumpkin puree
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

grated parmesan

chopped fresh cilantro

toasted pumpkin seeds or pine nuts
herb pan-fried croutons

bring vegetable stock and whipping cream to boil in heavy medium pot.
whisk in canned pumpkin, cumin, chili powder, coriander and nutmeg.
reduce heat to medium, simmer until soup thickens slightly + flavors blend for 15minutes.
season to taste with salt and pepper.
ladle soup into bowls. garnish. serve.

Monday, November 21, 2011

thanksgiving in the country

stocking up on firewood and kindling for thanksgiving weekend, tucking in these creamy pumpkins everywhere!

Friday, November 18, 2011

getting ready for Thanksgiving

the thanksgiving holiday is starting early as i have houseguests coming this weekend, and i'm setting the table with my favorite things from the new general store...stacks of linen placemats and napkins, the stemless  glasses and slate place card holders...the wood pizza boards are perfect for serving cheeses and i'll have a pitcher of local favorite serving pieces from barbara eigen will be pressed into service too...i love all the natural linens and woods and artisanal glass and pottery for an autumnal look !

Monday, November 14, 2011

A Visit to London

                        Petersham Nurseries, Richmond

                         Bailey's Home + Garden, Herefordshire

I've just come back from a week in London and have had so many requests for my favorite places, I've decided to post it !

My  London  List:
Breakfast/Brunch at THE WOLSLEY
PORTOBELLO ROAD antiquing on Saturday
NOTTING HILL  area wandering
DOVER STREET MARKET - ROSE CAFE for light lunch tea
BOND STREET shops/ galleries
EGG - inspirational shop on Kinnerton Street
MARGARET HOWELL- classic English clothes with an edge
COS (new favorite black clothes shop!)
TATE MODERN- Gerhard Richter show + great art bookshop
DESIGN MUSEUM - Butlers Wharf
SIR JOHN SOANE MUSEUM- a step into the past, amazing house of 18th c architect + his obsessions
BEN PENTREITH - unique English home accessories
PERSEPHONE - classic women's books in beautiful bindings
DAYLESFORD shop - today's style organic food, cafe + home goods  (Notting Hill or Pimlico)
THE ORANGE - chic new gastropub on Pimlico Road
PIMLICO ROAD- home/antiques shops
LIBERTY'S - the original London department store
WHITE COMPANY  - all white bed/bath/at home wear/childrens' clothes
FEW + FAR -  artisanal home accessories/jewelry/fashion
VICTORIA + ALBERT MUSEUM - rich with decorative arts exhibits, new food galleries/restaurants
V+ A READING ROOMS - great  new bookshop cafe
STAR OF INDIA - the best Indian food...try the coconut nan + string beans with cashews
CABBAGES + ROSES - quintessential English country house fabrics/ fashion/ soft home accessories
COLUMBIA ROAD - flower market, antique shops, HUMMINGBIRD BAKERY for cupcakes + ANGELA FLANDERS for custom fragrances
LABOR + WAIT - traditional household goods.
AESOP'S - bath and beauty products boutique
STORY- romantic and rustic setting with the best pizzas
ALBION - cool grocery and restaurant

If you have access to a car for an afternoon:
PETERSHAM NURSERIES for the best garden accessories and lunch in their garden setting

Train accessible:
DULWICH PICTURE GALLERIES - the first art museum, designed by Sir John Soane 
GREENWICH - Maritime Museum and a stroll through this 18th century setting
KEW GARDENS- the most magical greenhouse

Favorite Day trips:
BATH for a Georgian architecture experience and a visit to Jane Austen's world
OXFORD - train to the Ashmolean + Pitt Rivers Museums and a pub to settle into

Friday, November 11, 2011

in the kitchen

it finally feels like fall and i'm so glad its the weekend...time for a fire, potting up bulbs, a pot of tea and some jane austen...

Sunday, October 30, 2011

sunday brunch

in this stormy fall season, one of my favorite rituals on sundays is to make a frittata and rosemary roasted potatoes...a spicy bloody mary, and time to read the new york times is heaven. today's frittata is caramelized red onion, goat cheese, sun dried tomatoes, black olives, rosemary and red pepper flakes...i always run it under the broiler with grated parmesan to make it crisp and more flavorful ...fingerling potatoes from the farmstand drizzled with rosemary olive oil and a sprinkling of mint salt(both from the new general store) and tossed with fresh rosemary sprigs go in the oven at 450 degrees first for about 45 minutes...while the potatoes are roasting, I prepare the frittata...2-3 eggs whipped with a bit of water and herbs + red pepper flakes mixed in and then cooked in a cast iron skillet (turning the liquid under to cook)is my approach I also coat the pan with the sun dried tomato oil from the jar...then add the cheeses and other easy 1 hour meal that varies with the season and what's in the fridge!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

pumpkin style

from autumn with matthew mead
from autumn with matthew mead
from country living

Thursday, October 20, 2011

a visit with jane cumberbatch

just back from a week in london visiting my friends jane cumberbatch, catherine calvert and katrin cargill... brainstorming about new book ideas, and celebrating the publication of jane's new guide to simple living called Pure Style: Recipes for Everyday
her garden with its beautiful apple tree full of ripe green apples was ready for harvesting for her apple crumble recipe, one of many favorites in her book... can't wait to make it back at home with the fireplace burning and the kettle on!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

white halloween

now this is a halloween look i can live with...interpreted by matthew mead for his autumn issue! can't wait to make those ghost pound cake slices and get my white pumpkins ready...

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

autumn with matthew mead

a fall harvest supper at my home is featured in the new Autumn with Matthew Mead...we made my favorite pumpkin ravioli with brown butter sage sauce, and invited friends for a fall supper out in the woods... best part was the tarte tatin (from Donna Hay) with sea salt caramel gelato for dessert ...get all my entertaining tips and recipes in this new issue on sale now at

Thursday, September 8, 2011

autumn rituals

time to light the fireplace in the evening, bring out a stack of soft wool throws, and add a rug to warm up the room...much as i hate to put away the white linens, i love to layer in dark rich browns and blacks in textiles and branches to replace the summer garden flowers and shells as the new season comes in...

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

fall weekend reading

"If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need" ...Cicero

I stocked up on new mysteries and historical novels for the hurricane weekend here and was lost in their pages for days...
Well, no gardening this weekend, but so happy to have growing bookshelves and electricity!

Here are my recommendations:

1. The Soldier's Wife by Margaret Leroy : a love story and insight into a woman's life on the Isle of Guernsey in the early days of WWII occupation ...brought back the wonderful Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Shaffer and Barrows
2. The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh: how the message and passion for flowers can transform our lives ...evocative contemporary San Francisco setting.
3. The Bitter Truth by Charles Todd: WWI nurse Bess Crawford comes home to London on leave and gets embroiled in a murder investigation in Suffolk and rescuing a baby in war torn France
4. Bound by Sally Gunning: next in her series of 18th century New England historical novels, this story brings to life women's lives on Cape Cod in this period of political unrest and search for independence.

In the stack to read next stormy weekend (I have to get back to work!)

5. Caleb's Crossing by Geraldine Brooks, first native American graduate of Harvard in 1665 from Martha's Vineyard and his living in two different cultures.
6. A Book of Secrets by Michael Holroyd: an evocative tapestry weaving together the lives of Violet Trefusis, Alice Keppel and Eve Fairfax in the Italian village of Ravello
7. On Canann's Side by Sebastian Barry, a woman's journey from Ireland in WWI to America over a 70 year period

Saturday, September 3, 2011


as the days get shorter and the nights cooler, it's time to light a fire in the fireplace at the end of the day, and this season, there is a lot of kindling to gather from the latest hurricane on long island...I bundle twigs and branches and tie with twine to use as firestarters and give as gifts for friends who have fireplaces in the city! photograph by michael skott
from THE NATURAL HOME by tricia foley