January 7, 2023
Lifestyle Influences Your Petstyle
First shared in Petcetra magazine, Summer 2018
I’ve always been a dog and cat lover. At age five, dad brought home an Old English Sheepdog puppy, which I named Buffy. Later, we had two black Labrador Retrievers. Like most children, I asked for a kitten (along with the reoccurring request for a pony). My parents’ remedy was I should have the most purr-fect grey kitty repeat pattern bedding complete with matching sheets, pillows, and curtains. At age eleven, I learned we were dog people who appreciate cats.
In my twenties, my first rescue cat, Spencer found me—we quickly bonded. Happily greeting me anytime I arrived home—never tapping his paw or looking at his cat watch. He did not the mind my long work hours or week-long trips to NYC and CA. We had our routine—he slept in the sun, followed by all the love and attention he needed. The same routine applied with another rescue, Bailey, with whom I shared sixteen years of endless fur love.
Since Bailey’s passing, I’ve been wondering if I’m ready for a puppy or another kitty. So, I offered to pet-sit my Mom’s dog during her twelve-day vacation. Maggie, my fur-sister, a 75 pound Labradoodle arrives with all her gear and a detailed schedule. Sheesh Mom… I need all this stuff?
The first few hours are easy we settle into our routine. I work at home though Maggie doesn’t quite get the concept of conference calls and wanted to be a part of the conversation. I make her stay on her blanket in the living room and continue the call. After the call, I think wow this is going well…she’s so quiet. I peak around the corner to find her on the sofa on her back, paws up in the air—ever so comfy. I wake her and make her return to the blanket.
Our first day ends with a walk, a treat, and a snuggle on her blanket next to my bed. I settled in, turned off the light and was immediately pounced upon, her head onto my pillow wanting to sleep in my bed. Nope! On to the floor…on your blanket! This is a problem because she always sleeps with Mom. I’m so tired that I consider letting her, but I just cannot, I’m not a pet-in-the-bed person.
Morning arrived with several inches of snow. I dress putting on my parka, snow boots, hat and gloves, way earlier than normal. We go into the snow, doing our doggie business, returning to the house with snow caked paws. Maggie looks patiently at me with her huge puppy-like brown eyes. I look at her with groggy eyes asking for her next paw gently removing the caked snow and carefully drying each paw, thinking…okay, okay we can do this, just eleven more mornings before mom returns.
Now I know that I am most definitely a cat person who appreciates an occasional dog visit.
Since writing this short story for Petcetra, I adopted a tabby with mackerel markings in late fall of 2019. London adores lounging upon fur throws and afternoon perches high atop the curio cabinet. He is also quite vocal on conference calls and full of mischief. His monkey-like mischief has caused me to forego a once favorite tradition of decorating my Christmas tree full of gilded glass ornaments. Despite his mischief, he has been a time-saving influencer in disguise. I thought I’d miss this decorating tradition, although after designing and styling for clients during an already busy time of year— I can now come home and relax in my living room with a cup of coffee in hand and admire my nouveau Christmas tree composed of three apothecary jars (that go right back in storage “as is” in minutes). I’d say I’m winning and thankful for my lifestyle influencer—here to stay till death do us part mischief-maker.
April 9, 2018
Creating and Styling an Extraordinary Garden Tablescape
We turned an ordinary trade show display into an extraordinary and authentic garden space most recently at the (IGC) Independent Garden Center Show in Chicago at the Navy Pier. For this project, we started by designing and styling a grand tablescape for the main focal point of the booth, always with the end-result in mind to highlight our client’s unique collection of antique reproductions and garden decor.
Not only was it was important that we create an approachable, yet sophisticated look and feel for our client, but we needed to provide an easy to dismantle and replicate booth display design that could be transported from one trade show to the next. To accomplish, we started with designing, sourcing, and crafting in Columbus, Ohio with our favorite carpenter and builder Robert Orr. Together, with Robert’s expertise, we paired two beautiful live-edge American white oak slabs for the table surface with a set of ever so sturdy, rough-cut sawhorse legs (so very sturdy, because they’d need to hold the several hundred of pounds of the cast stone treasures upon).
With the supplies and table packed we were off to Chi-Town in our Chevy Tahoe rental nicknamed “Beast” (the perfect transport—roomy, smooth ride with commanding road presence). Once in Chicago, we quickly went to work setting up and styling the dozens of cast stone treasures, urns, water features, jardiniers, animals and statues, florals, orchids, textural elements, layers of lush, green moss, wood slabs and North Carolina pine cones to anchor and complement the garden tablescape abundantly.
Around the perimeter of the tablescape, we created seven tableaux areas to display and highlight the magnificent urns (styled with overflowing with lush pink hydrangeas), statues (adorned with boxwood wreaths and Southern magnolia swags), water features (styled with garden pebbles), a garden bench (inviting everyone to take a moments rest) and a console (ready to entertaining and viewing the latest Unique Stone catalog).
Among the tableaux we created a sitting area with the Italian Garden Bench. We found this David Hicks inspired chartreuse pillow and a woven jute patterned rug to pair with Unique Stone’s favorite whimsical garden stool the Majestic Hippo. We just adore this little guy—he’s the perfect table for your summer cocktail.
Far left of the hippo, the water features are anchored by the Heron Fountain and two birdbaths filled with garden pebbles. The trickling water in the fountain within the space added a tranquil moment for all to enjoy during the show.
The Atlas Console was the perfect space to display catalogs and refreshments to those who stop by to explore the garden display.
Marketing elements were also an essential layer to create brand recognition. A tall perpendicular sign, vertically designed with the Unique Stone logo and tagline “History in the Making” was centrally placed among the tablescape allowing visibility from all directions of foot traffic during the show. In addition, handwritten chalk signage and cards shared tips, pricing and FAQ’s Unique Stone is often asked. Hang tags were adored on larger cast stone product throughout the booth, tied with dark green ribbon to tell the brand story and clearly share the item number, product name and price to all who shopped the IGC show.
We hope you enjoyed reading about our latest project for Unique Stone.
July 11, 2016
SPOONFUL OF STYLE
I unearthed these Guilloché (gee-oh-SHAY) spoons at the Springfield Antiques & Flea Market on a rainy weekend in May. Having been on a cobalt kick for a while, the intensely brilliant blue one caught my eye— and then I spied the lemon yellow one minutes later at another booth.
Guilloché is a French word that means “engine turning,” and guilloche pieces are created by a machine similar to a lathe that engraves metal with a series of intricate, overlapping patterns. In the late 19th century, Imperial jeweler Carl Fabergé married guilloché engraving with colored enamel, and the trend took off all over Europe.
My blue spoon is of Danish origin, and I’m still searching to determine the history of the yellow one. If you’ve seen one like it, or know anything about it, I’d love to hear from you. Until then, I’m just going to admire the interplay of colors and keep my eyes open for more of this gorgeous goodness at my next Flea…stay tuned.
June 4, 2016
BRINGING IT HOME
So, I got my peonies home from Red Twig Farms and got down to my favorite thing about flowers—arranging them! I’m not a huge fan of glass vases; I don’t like seeing the stems, and the water gets gunky. So I reached for my trusty art deco creamware vase from Zanesville, Ohio’s own Shawnee Pottery. The Shawnee company opened in 1937, and their pieces are pretty easy to find at flea markets and antiques stores—many for a fairly reasonable price. Best of all, their matte finish and (usually) muted colors let the blossoms be the stars, which in my mind is kind of the point. If you’re out and about, keep your eyes open for Shawnee vases, as well as pieces from McCoy, Roseville, and Hull, which have a similar vibe.
And don’t feel like you have to be limited to vases! I use all sorts of vessels—whatever I find in the house—to hold fresh flowers. To date, I’ve used pitchers, ice buckets, coffee mugs, and tea pots & cups. I’ve even placed glass jars inside decorative boxes and paper bags. The next time someone brings you flowers, take a look around your home to see what might work…I know you’ll love the results.
June 2, 2016
FIELDS OF BLOOMS
I love living in Ohio in the summertime. EVERYTHING seems to grow here…not only sweet corn and tomatoes, but the most gorgeous flowers, too! One of my new favorite places is Red Twig Farms in New Albany. Specializing in cut flowers and—obviously—twigs, Red Twig Farms is THE place to go for alliums, branches, pussy willows, and PEONIES!
I made a day trip in June to pick up two big bouquets—one for my studio and another for a client, and not only was the experience delightful (Imagine fields full of white and pink and magenta buds ready to pop), but my car smelled like heaven the entire trip home.
I’ll definitely be going back in the fall for ornamental dogwood branches and curly willow. You can visit them anytime by going to their website, www.redtwigfarms.com or their facebook page, www.facebook.com/RedTwigFarmsOhio. If you’re planning to go in person, double check their open-to-the-public hours on either site or by calling them first at 614-855-1288.