{watching}

Son H is really enjoying the construction. His job is to get the workers ice cream, water and ice, and candy bars. He’s a well-liked supervisor!

{the matching shirts are just a coincidence!}

Progress is being made!

Loretta

{footings poured for new deck stairs}

 Our windowseat construction project was suppose to start last October, and it’s finally starting now!

{the stairs will have two big platforms}

 New stairs are being built off the side of our deck. They are really wide at 5′-4″, wide enough for a two people to walk up comfortably…

Here’s it shaping up! More updates coming soon…

Loretta

{Mimosa Gallery on 70C Beekman Street, Saratoga Springs, New York}
It’s a treat when I get to visit a gallery that carries my work! Mimosa Gallery in Saratoga Springs, New York is less than an hour drive from Albany. It’s off the beaten path on the charming arts district on Beekman Street.
{perfect summer bag!}

 Mimosa’s talented owner Michelle LaLonde is a well-known handbag designer. She was out of town that day, and here’s artist Susan Burden holding one of Michelle’s sophisticated bags. You can see more of Michelle’s work on her website: www.michellelalondeaccessories.com

Mimosa Gallery has two large rooms, one is for jewelry, handbags, homewares and gifts. The motto is “art for home and wear” So many local artists are represented.
The other room is a spacious gallery space with rotating shows. If you’re in town for the Saratoga racing season (which opened in scorching heat this past weekend!) take the time to visit Beekman Street and Mimosa Gallery!
Loretta
{finished pieces, inventory sheet, notecard and a little something chocolate…}
Yesterday I drove up to Saratoga Springs, New York to deliver some jewelry to the amazing Mimosa Gallery on Beekman Street.
I remember at a business conference a presenter told how he always added a hard candy to his orders to give the person who had to unpack and enter inventory a little treat. Hard candy never would do it for me personally, so I’ve been adding a piece of chocolate to my orders ever since! 
I took a lot of charming pictures of Mimosa Gallery (the owner is a well known handbag designer!) and the shops in the Beekman Street Arts District of Saratoga and will share them with you later this week!
Loretta

My brother J and sister-in-law C are building a fabulous new home. She’s thinking navy and white fabrics might be a great way to pull together the open floor plan of the new place and go mix with the furniture she already owns. She also loves ethnic fabrics as she’s lived – among other places – in Turkey and Japan!

 
When we got together at my parent’s house, I remembered about a decade ago I bought some traditional Chinese indigo fabric for my Mom at the Lyndhurst Craft Show where I had a jewelry booth. I took with a quick look down in my parent’s basement, and actually found the fabric! I admit I am growing more and more fond of navy and white. Isn’t this fabric fantastic?
{hand stenciled}
I bought it from a woman named Shengzhu. The textiles are from her “TC Collection” and I was able to still find her website. It’s made in the traditional way with pure cotton cloth, lime, sticky rice and soya using hand-cut stencils.  It’s dyed with the indigo carmine extracted from the blue grass (DAQING or BANLAN).
 

I am so impressed by the handmade quality and care that went into this fabric. Navy and White is such a classic pairing. Isn’t this little flower print lovely?

{love the birds!}

Are you a Navy and White fan? What would you make with this fabric?

Loretta

{Happy Birthday Dad!}

 Here’s the promised pictures of our 4th of July visit to Samascott Farms in Kinderhook, New York. It was my Dad’s birthday and we had a blast!

{yum}
We did blueberries first, before the heat of the day set in…
{Evie and Son H, my good pickers}
It was a big field of bushes, but watch out for the groundhog holes!
{sour cherries}

 Next we went into the shade of the cherry trees and threw down a blanket for a picnic lunch.  After sandwiches and tart lemonade we filled our containers with sweet cherries and sour cherries…

{Son H, Rosie and Evie among the branches}

 The sweet cherries had a lot of rot, so you had to climb to find the good ones.

{kids on the car}

 My Dad told how his father used to pull their beat-up cars under the trees when he was a kid to pick the fruit, so my husband backed up the minivan…

{summertime!}

Too much fun! See the dessert we made the next day here.
Do you have  a favorite picking place?

Loretta

{RED cherries, WHITE cake and BLUEberries on my Mom’s wedding dishes!}

Hope everyone had a great Fourth of July Weekend! The Fourth is my father’s birthday so he set the agenda – my Mom, Dad, husband and the kids went picking blueberries and sweet and sour cherries at Samascott Orchards in Kinderhook, New York. The highlight was a picnic under the cherry trees.  I’ll post some pics, soon!

…and now the three winners of the Wow Bow Acquabol Portable Pet Bowls, invented by my awesome inventor brother-in-law Ryan:

Debra: “Those bowls are so cute and what a great idea, Dylan dog would love to win a bowl! It’s starting to get hot for him and some of his watering holes are drying up so Mom now has to carry water for the boy so this would be perfect!”
Jen: “I’m a follower! I would use this for my sweet cats. When we have work done at our house, we keep our cats in our master bedroom. It would be nice to just keep this bowl folded up in the bathroom and pop it out and fill with water when we have to lock the cats up. What a great invention!”
Sherry Hart: “How convenient!!! Well I have 2 old english sheepdogs that I could use it for!!! I take them to the park every day so I could really use it!!”

Congrats to the pets! ( …and their wonderful owners! All bloggers!)  I’ve followed Debra’s carriage barn renovation at Acquired Objects, Interior Designer Exraordinaire Sherry writes Design Indulgence, and I just found Jen’s blog Our Fine House )

Loretta

Son H woke me up at four in the morning Friday. And I couldn’t go back to sleep! The day I planned to drive by myself the five hour round-trip from Albany, N.Y. to Ikea in Paramus, N.J.  Ugh.

Let’s just say that I was a bit of a zombie wandering the store. I felt like I could fall asleep on the plush display beds in the store. Ha ha ha. And when I tried to take an afternoon nap in my van in the underground Ikea parking lot, it just didn’t happen. (I spent ALL Friday in Ikea and finally did take a nap at 10:30 at night in a rest stop on the New York Thruway!)

{hello Ikea Paramus!}
But, even groggy, I loved my day, all by myself, wandering the store. My favorite part? The “It’s my home” series of vignettes throughout the showroom floor.  Entire living spaces, including kitchen, dining, sleeping AND bathrooms! This one here was in a mere 280 square feet.
{Love this black shade on the dining room light}

I so admire how the amazing designers at Ikea can pack so much function into such a small space. 280 square feet? And yes, everything you needed was there…

{bright and cheerful}
…here’s the other half of the space. You can see the bathroom just beyond the right door. 
Everything at Ikea is so modern, cheery and upbeat. Makes me want to move my family of five into a fictional 280 square foot urban apartment. Well, maybe not. But it puts things into perspective. My 1500 square foot house looks pretty huge after an Ikea trip. I’m empowered to make every inch count after studying what those resourceful Ikea designers can do.
{The “flip flop” bag is a cooler – I packed a lunch}
Thank goodness it was a Friday in Paramus and uncrowded. I was able to get a corner area in the cafeteria all to myself to spread out and work on some floorplans.
{drawing an elevation of Evie’s room in the cafeteria}

I stuck pretty close to my shopping list, picking up the Kura bed for Son H and furniture for Evie’s room. They didn’t seem to stock the Lack bookcases anymore, so I went with Expedit units instead.

{Designer Cilla Ramnek was inspired by a collection of vintage crocheted pot holders}

Of course, no trip to Ikea is complete without a few impulse purchases. Here’s the $39.99 Lusy Blom rug for Evie’s room. How could I not resist taking this home? This rug sums up Ikea to me- cheap, cheerful and FUN!

Next up, the not-so-fun Ikea manuals and assembly! Have a fantastic Fourth of July!

Loretta

p.s. Drawing my giveaway winners SOON! Don’t forget to enter!

{road trip! The nearest Ikea to Albany, NY is Paramus NJ}
I’m planning a trip to Ikea – an all day event as you can see how far from Albany, New York the nearest store is! All by myself, no kids, no husband. Just me and a lunch date with Adal, Bjursta and Billy. (Husband went to an Ikea in Pennsylvania once, on a crowded weekend, and vowed never to return again to that “crazy spiral” store.)
{Ikea Kura bed – the panels reverse from white to blue}



I want to pick up a few things for the kids rooms – A desk for Rosie, bookshelves for Evie and this Ikea Kura bed for Son H. This photo above from the Ikea catalog just drew me right in. The bed’s not as high as a bunk bed, and has such a cool area to play underneath. Dreamy for a six year old! Should I spring for that tent top, too?

I might see if I can hack it to make the left right and the right left. After looking at other photos online I realize that there are three white solid panels facing the wall that will block a lot of light coming from Son H’s bedroom window.  Not a very exciting hack, but a practical one!

{handy}
I told my husband that maybe I should call the store to make sure the bed is in stock before I drive down. I heard this bed can sell out. Then I found the handy “product availability” feature on the Ikea site. Pretty cool, huh?
What’s your absolute favorite Ikea purchase? Or do you, like my husband, avoid the store at all costs?
Loretta
p.s. Enter to win my brother-in-law Ryan’s invention – Wow Bow Acquabol Portable Pet Water Bowls! Three winners drawn on July 4!
{a larger clasp}
With jewelry, it’s little customizable details that can make the difference between a piece a person will wear all the time, and a piece that sits in a dresser drawer. Here’s a necklace I just modified with a larger clasp. The necklace was given as a gift – but the clasp was too difficult for the recipient to use. So, back to my studio for a little tweak…
{reversible sterling silver Theresa necklace with Reaching Boxwood}
It brings me joy to make pieces that are PERFECT for my clients. A longer or shorter chain, a custom photograph and custom gemstones are all easy when you work directly with the artist.

 

And here’s the beauty in my garden that was photographed for the piece – boxwood! Doesn’t she make an great model? I love to capture the elegance of plants in my jewelry.
Have you ever had a piece of jewelry you love, but can’t wear because it needs a little “custom”?
Loretta
p.s. Don’t forget to enter my Wow Bow Acquabol Portable Pet Bowl Giveaway! I’m drawing three winners on July 4!