Tuesday, 31 July 2012

A perfect summer day with Marianne of Marianne Simon Design

Hi and good morning. So happy to be here with yet another favorite blogger for my "A perfect summer day" series. This woman knows style and elegance....and her elegant design work speaks to that so I knew she would hit a home run when she came aboard and as I expected...Marianne of Marianne Simon Design delivered. Hopefully you know of Marianne Simon Design (formally Style for Living)....an elegant blog always with an interesting musing or two and lots of great design inspiration. So happy to have and welcome Marianne here and her perfect summer day looks like winner to me! So here we go......take it away Marianne!

My perfect summer day would start at this time of the morning (or afternoon)…9:00am

The bedroom I wake up in would look something like this……Classic and calm with crisp white sheets, upholstered headboard and a simple flower in a vase on the bedside table.

And my bathroom like this...…. I simply love a beautiful white bathroom.  This one has been a long time favorite of mine.  What a dream shower!

A favorite beauty product I love to use during the summer...….. Chanel lipgloss in the color Sundress

And this is an ideal summer outfit that you might find me frolicking in...….There's nothing better than a pair of jeans, a classic t-shirt and a statement necklace!
My view from my bedroom in the summer looks like this……Who wouldn't want to look out their bedroom and see the Eiffel Tower!?

And of course this perfect summer day is located in.....Paris!

For breakfast I would indulge in...….. A delicious latte.  I would add a croissant to go along with it. 

After I am showered, fed and revved up to start my day, I will....go shopping.

For lunch this is my absolute favorite summertime meal.....Ina Garten's roasted shrimp and orzo salad.

An afternoon snack might comprise of...….. French macarons, of course!

My afternoon activity would be......… A trip to the spa.  A massage sounds really good right now!

The ideal summer drink is..... A fruit smoothie, always refreshing on a hot summer day.

This is what would be served for my ideal summer dinner……  I love pizza and dream of having an outdoor pizza oven one day.  Yum!
And where I eat it might look like this......A beautiful outdoor space to have friends over and sit by the fireplace.

A perfect summer ending to a perfect summer day would end...... With a nice walk with my dogs in a park.  It's one of their favorite things to do every day.

The best part of my summer day is.....Stress free and relaxing!

Tina, thank you so much for including me in your wonderful summer series!  I am honored to be included!  xo
HOLY MACAROON! I am kind of reeling from how amazing this is and how it has every one of my senses in serious overdrive. Paris? Macaroons? That outdoor fireplace setting? The walk  in a chic Parisian park? The food? The chic outfit? Seriously, Marianne I think you might have just nailed it. Paris and perfect summer day go together like chocolate and caramel, popcorn and butter, cheese and crusty bread...well you get my drift. This is a brilliant idea for the perfect summer day and I would be so delighted to spend it with you if you need a willing and able travel companion who has zero inhibitions about delicious food:) Want to see more of Marianne's wonderful style? Then click on over to her wonderful blog, Marianne Simon design by  clicking here. Merci beaucoup  Marianne for this fabulous post and to all of you for stopping in.....wishing you a wonderful summer day, Au revoir!

Saturday, 28 July 2012

Weekend musings.........

Hi..how is your weekend going? Finally the first weekend in a loong time that we only have dinner plans on the calendar and not much else and  I have come down with something! Not sure if its allergies or a cold, but I have basically lost my voice......so looks like it will be a weekend to rest and get better (great weekend to catch the Olympic action). Plus its supposed to thunderstorm and I LOVE being in when its nasty besides not much I can do to fight it. Didn't think allergies could flare up this time of year but several have told me its really bad right now! Onto other things like the house...... Both powder rooms are officially in the works (window treatments) so I am a happy camper. Plus I have other small projects happening..so things are moving and shaking here.

For the powder room off the kitchen, the more casual one....I fell in love with this wallpaper and wanted a more casual fabric for the windows, so got a silk gingham (if there is leftover would love to make a dress out of it)! And don't you LOVE when you find the perfect trim? Well lo and behold I found it my one day last week which was a super productive day..I mean I was on fire. There it was....a no brainer. I didn't  have to think, I ordered it then and there and its en route to the fabricator! Cannot wait to see this room complete. I love completed rooms (really don't have any but its so nice when you know a room is done)!!

My attention next is going to four rooms, I know ambitious for someone who has been pretty lame lately.....but trust me I am pacing myself but need to take full advantage of when the mood strikes! My bedroom, the guest room, the living room and the dining room. The dining room already has the table, and we chose the Charis so now its just finalizing the fabric, and I decided i am going simple, so I can really focus on the chinoiserie walls and allow that to be the statement in the room. For my bedroom and the guest room..I have a small album of inspirations that I keep handy, so here are some of them........

For the guest room I am doing a bed just like the one below.....and fabric inspirations waver between going with the blues and creams to doing something more monochromatic.....hummmm!
This is a very pale green with taupes and beiges

Blue and white...a classic

Another option....

And yet another

Another beautiful pattern

The queen bed will look just like this (with a coordinating check) Anything above standing out to you when you visualize it like the bed below?

For our dining room we have ordered this Ralph Lauren chandelier. We had a beautiful antique chandelier in our old house but its too small for our current dining room. So, this was instant love when I laid eyes on it..cannot wait to see it up! Here it is in the store.....

OK now something I have been thinking about for my kitchen, I LOVE my kitchen, not like but love. It is everything I ever wanted, but one small detail I thought about when I was selecting hardware but chickened out on was putting antique brass hardware on my island. I actually like not seeing everything so "matchy matchy" in a kitchen and like when I see the island have something different, its almost like apiece of furniture. The oil rubbed bronze, though beautiful just blends into the black of the island so its not pronounced. Below is picture for you to see.....and then below it what I am considering, its really beautiful and very heavy duty, looks like it came off of some old yacht or something, it looks aged and is unlacquered brass....thoughts????  Would love to hear your opinions!

And here are some of the pieces...
This beauty comes in 4" and a 12" I would put two 12" on either end of the island to hold towels...like that look!

The heavy duty pulls.....

I love traditional planters, simple, and love anything with a lattice or trellis design. SO I am very excited that I bit the bullet and ordered these gorgeous planters in the limestone finish. They are going to be so pretty with a beautiful topiary of some sort and overflowing white flowers on the bottom with ivy spilling out. I have the vision very alive in my head. This is from the line I carry and I am so in love with each and every thing they carry. Plus these are big, 36" tall by 36" wide...very generous, cannot wait!! Happy birthday to my husband. Dont' tell me i am the only one who gets things I love but likes to act like they are a "gift" for those we love..........
   Then ordered a few of these for the patio......they come in three sizes, very classic design.
So ordered this one for the pool area.....

Debating between all these beauties...HELP! Which one? I want one for around the pool......whichever I do will be in the aged moss (as shown in most of the pictures) though 8 finishes are offered, the aged moss goes best with my house.

If I do these, I will do the pair.........so pretty!! I have a "thing" for classical cherubs!

Which of the cherubs is your favorite? I love them all and honestly having a heck of a time deciding! 

And here for no real reason at all, other than I just love these pictures that make me feeling something.....
Isnt' this an amazing picture? 
I have been in love with this picture for forever...the colors, the setting, the time of day and lighting, I am imagining its near Provence or Tuscany, the table is waiting to be set with a rustic elegant dinner for friends and family.....ahhhh love this picture!

Last random tidbit, probably my most favorite dessert in the entire world is a really good key lime pie...the tanginess of lime with the buttery crunch of the graham cracker crust....can I get a "yum"! So.....this is being hailed as the best recipe and was featured on Oprah as such.......planning to make this one day very soon but just in case you are in a baking mood, here it is...and promise me you will tell me if its really "all that"!

Best Key Lime Pie
Servings: Serves 8
Graham Cracker Crust:
  • 3/4 pound graham crackers
  • 4 Tbsp. granulated sugar
  • 2 sticks melted butter
  • 1/4 tsp. sea salt
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1 can (14 ounces) condensed milk
  • 2/3 cup fresh Key lime juice
  • 1 lime , grated zest
  • 1 cup heavy or whipping cream , chilled
  • 2 Tbsp. confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
To make graham cracker crust: Preheat the oven to 325°.
Break up the graham crackers, place in a food processor and process to crumbs. Add the melted butter, sugar and salt and pulse until combined. Press the mixture into the bottom of a 9-inch pie pan, forming an even layer on the bottom, sides and edge. Bake the crust for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow the crust to cool.
To make filling: While the crust is resting, in an electric mixer with the wire whisk attachment, whip the egg yolks and lime zest at high speed until fluffy, or 5 to 6 minutes. Gradually add the condensed milk and continue to whip until thick, 3 to 4 minutes longer. Lower the mixer speed and slowly add the lime juice until incorporated.
Pour the mixture into the crust and bake for 15 minutes, or until the filling has just set. Cool on a wire rack, and then refrigerate for 20 minutes.
To make topping: Whip the cream, confectioners’ sugar and vanilla until nearly stiff. Evenly spread the whipped cream on top of the pie, and place in the freezer for 20 minutes prior to serving.

So....that's what's new around here. Wishing everyone a fabulous weekend......filled with good things, great food, lots of laughter and the Olympics!


Friday, 27 July 2012

Artist spotlight: Mary Casey and a winner!!

Hi there....excited to announce the very lucky winner of the beautiful Safavieh rug. I used random.org and want to send out a hearty congratulations to.......

Prize IDWinner IDPublic InfoPrivate InfoRandom Sorting IDWeight
1: 6X9 rug2934060LIZ B FROM MIAMI0018D57F-D179-4ED3-82B4-8DD22F7D19031

Please get in touch with me at theenchantedhome@gmail.com, so that you can provide your shipping information and this gorgeous rug can be on its way to you!

A few weeks ago I posed about the most exquisite and generous oil painting I received of Teddy. This was given to me as a gift by the uber talented artist Mary Casey who is incidentally a reader of my blog and was so moved by the story of Teddy's attack back in April. So true......you just never know who is reading your blog! I was touched more than words can convey at this incredibly kind gesture. She was so touched by Teddy's horrid ordeal that she felt inspired to paint him. I cannot tell you how thrilled I was when I laid eyes on this work of art!

Mary is incredibly talented and I got several inquires about her work including a few who want to represent her, no surprise there. So Mary was kind enough to share with me a few more of her pieces and grant me this lovely interview. Mary does not have a website however for anyone who is interested in contacting Mary to commission her for their own pet portrait (or any other kind) her contact information is at the bottom of this post.I am so happy to feature her here today as her gift is one worth sharing with everyone I know. In addition Mary has just now started up her own blog, so please do stop on over and welcome her to blogland! Click here to visit her blog.  Enough of me....lets hear from Mary and what inspires her as an artist.......

1.    How long have you been painting and what inspired you to begin? Did you know that you had a gift early on?  I have been drawing and painting all my life, as long as I can remember, and went into graphic design, continued to paint.  I worked corporately for @15 year, as a designer and illustrator for Nike, then as I wanted to focus more on family, I retired for a few years, and now I am teaching art at a small private grade/middle school, part time.  This job allows me to paint and focus on what I love.  And helps me to be better- if you want to get better at something, teach it.

2.   What is your favorite style/subject to paint?  My favorite things to paint are portraits, and of course, dogs, or pets.  People as well, but I do really love to  paint dogs.

3.   Who are some of your favorite artists and types of paintings?    I have a varied list of painters I love, but heavily influenced now by the masters, Rembrandt, and the old masters of dog painting too, such as George Stubbs, famous for his horses, plus animals in general.  Maud Earl, dogs and horses.  A particular favorite is Eugene-Joseph Verboeckhoven.


Verboeckhoven- Old master favorite, in fact I have started a reproduction painting of his, to study.  Famous for painting lots of animals.

One of my current contemporary favorite painters is Sherrie Wolf, who paints in the 18th century “old masters” style, but takes paintings and rearranges items, repaints them, and sometimes borrows from other paintings.

Very beautiful and very fresh, contemporary.

4. If you could meet one artist dead or alive, who would it be and why?  I would love to meet Picasso, I think his passion and the way he saw the world is fascinating. I love a couple of his quotes:  “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.”― Pablo Picasso.  Being a teacher, it’s so true, if only we could only keep the innocence and enthusiasm for what we see!  And another favorite: “If I paint a wild horse, you might not see the horse... but surely you will see the wildness!” 
― Pablo Picasso  While I don’t emulate his style, I love the fact that he aspires to capture the truest essence of something.

5. What is something you would like to paint that you have never tried before? I would love to paint wallpaper, Chinoiserie. I was obsessed with De Gournay for a while, and have been talking to a friend who may want to start a project...

6. Do you have your own studio and is this a full time job or a hobby? I have a small studio in a sunny corner room of our house, that works well.  I sometimes use the school, or office there too.  But mostly my home studio.

7. How long does an average painting take you?  This very much depends on size and complexity, how many subjects in the painting, etc.  I often do a sketch first, which takes about a few days to a week, and pending changes from the customer, I go onto the painting.  About a month is probably average.  I usually have 3-4 going at one time.  It’s crucial to walk away from a painting at times during the process, and give it a rest for a couple days.

8. Any good advice for novices looking to start collecting art, things to look for or bear in mind? I think looking at paintings/art regarding either a subject or style that one is passionate about is important.  Collecting doesn’t have to be expensive, I remember reading that the designer Michael Smith, LA and NY designer to the stars, white house, etc. often looks for local unknown artists to put in houses.  Visiting “first thursdays”, (as they are known here), gallery receptions and show openings.  Look at a lot of art.  Getting acquainted with the art scene in your area, or online, following artists that you love, that compliment your style of home. I have seen some gorgeous antique paintings become available through some of the online auctions.  Takes some patience to follow them and constantly check to see what’s available, but worth it if you find a treasure……

And now here are some of Mary's beautiful pieces.....certainly hold their own next to any artist. Her attention to detail and sense of realism is astounding!

Recognize this cute little fella? This is one of my most treasured possessions!

Isn't she AMAZING? Oh to have that kind of God given talent......I would be painting all day in my little artists studio overlooking the sea with only a lighthouse in the distance only breaking for my meals, ensconced in my studio all day and night creating works of art craved by the world to see. Sorry, I am a dreamer and my mind drifts at times......Back to earth Tina!!!!......... I am so in awe of her gift, there is simply no other way to describe it! If you are interested in contacting Mary and commissioning her  for your very masterpiece, her email address is- 

Mary, cannot thank you enough for being my guest today and giving us a peek into your beautiful art filled world and to all of you for stopping in. Wishing everyone a fabulous day!