Monday, February 24, 2014

So Much Fun to Be Home... A List of Wonderful Things

So Much Fun To Be Home...
A List of Wonderful Things

Some years back, on a relatively ordinary afternoon, I received a phone call from a friend wondering if The Songwriter and I would like front row seats to a Rolling Stones concert that very night.  Calling down the hallway to him, The Songwriter yelled “Yes!” before I even completed the query.  Knowing they were famous for not taking the stage until around midnight, I asked The Songwriter if he’d mind if I brought a book to read during the opening acts.  I won’t tell you his reply; I’ll only say I went book-less to the show.  And even with the lateness of the hour, coupled with no satisfactory reading material, I had an absolute whale of a time.
I have sat on both the second and fourth rows of Bruce Springsteen concerts, events that always provide ample amounts of the sort of fun a person reasonably expects to be absent in adulthood.  Though my aversion to being flipped upside down forbade my participation in a ride on the Rock and Roll Roller Coaster at Disneyworld, I did manage to endure falling 150 feet once, and only once, on the elevator contraption in the aptly named Tower of Terror. 

 I say all this to make it clear that I know how to have fun like normal people.  However, as I drove home one afternoon last week in delighted anticipation of the night I had planned, it occurred to me, not for the first time, that there are many definitions of fun.  For as much as I enjoyed all the above mentioned experiences, had someone offered me enviable tickets this particular night I would have flatly turned them down, as I found my plans for the evening much too good to relinquish. 

My house was sparkling clean and full of flowers.  A big bouquet of orange roses filled the Woodland vase in the sitting room, while pink and salmon lace-edged tulips overflowed the cut glass bowl by the bedroom rocking chair.  There were Casablanca lilies in the blue Art Nouveau vase by the fireplace, their fragrance mingling deliciously with the faint traces of woodsmoke from last night’s fire.  I was in the middle of The Goldfinch, Donna Tartt’s latest Dickensian treat, as well as coming into the final stitches of a lace work shawl I'd been knitting and couldn’t wait to block and wear.  The weather outside, though only so recently glacial, was now in a full flirtation with Spring, enough so that I could open the windows and let cleansing breezes drift through the rooms, at least till the sun set.  No invitation could I possibly accept tonight.  Home was the only place I wanted to be, and I spent several long, blissful days enjoying its pleasures and having fun.

This happy hibernation gave me time
 to put together a list of my latest finds for you sweet readers as well.
  Hope you enjoy them all.
 1. More Antique Pillows
In conversation with a client last week, I implored her
 to add some antique touches to her sparkling new rooms. 
 An inherited side table, an old painting. 
 A weathered plant stand in the corner, its patina slightly faded. 
 A stack of old books.
  Antiques give new rooms weight and wisdom.  They are items with experience; they have lived a little.  And just as these are the type of people one wants round one’s dinner party table, these are also sort of items that make a room interesting and inviting.
One of my favourite ways to add some warmth to a room is with antique textiles. 
 An old velvet sash used as a curtain tieback. 
 A faded French quilt at the end of the bed. 
 Or one of these fabulous pillows. 
It’s been rather amazing how quickly these disappear from my etsy shoppe every time I happened to find some more.  The ones I have now are perfect examples of what every room needs.  A bit Bloomsbury, made from antique carpets with utterly scrumptious colours, they add a cozy touch to a room.  I don’t have many in the shop, but each one is a treasure.
And as you can see above..... I kept one for my own bed. 
Find them HERE.
Monday morning update:  Only four left!

2. Yarn Bowl
 When The Songwriter and I go out to dinner we have, on several occasions, returned home to a scene as irritating as it is hilarious.  We get a hint something is amiss when we open the front door and spy the tell-tale trail of yarn.  Edward is greeting us as usual, tail spinning and head bobbing.  But Apple is hanging back a little, not exactly meeting our gaze, as though thinking deeply on something infinitely more important that our arrival.  I follow the trail of yarn to find a scene worthy of a dark comedy: yarn wrapping round chair legs, over sofa arms, and in several incidences, down hallways. Once, obviously in a fit of uncontrolled, exuberant mischief, she wound herself round a rocking chair, as tightly as a criminal in a straight-jacket, and had to wait there until we returned, no doubt enduring the disapproving gaze of the slightly older, and infinitely wiser, Edward.  Though she has also chewed up knitting needles and decimated patterns, it seems to be balls of freshly wound wool that attract her attention most completely.  
Therefore, how thrilled was I to open this present at Christmas!  As dear William Morris famously said, “Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful”, and this yarn bowl meets that criteria handsomely.  Handmade, gorgeous in colour and form, it has little holes to put the yarn through so the ball doesn’t bounce out of the bowl as well as, hallelujah, a lid!
Though Apple seems a bit bored when we return in the evenings these days,
 I am absolutely in love with this yarn bowl!
Find it HERE

   3.  Sherlock
Three episodes?
Only three episodes??
Why, oh why, can’t this be on every single night?

4.  Bloomsbury at Burberry
With designs taken straight off the walls of Charleston Farmhouse, 
Burberry has entered the Bloomsbury world with an oh so tempting flourish.
Oh, my soul.
These bags.
I want every single one.
Find the entire collection HERE.

5.  Porter
Net-A-Porter has just launched a lovely new magazine.
Have you seen it?
The photos of Uma Thurman are so charming.
Find the magazine HERE.

6.  A Chaise Lounge for Edward!
With this hint of Spring in the air, I naturally think about being outside a bit more.
Like me, Edward likes the shade much more than the sun,
so I think he’d adore this!
Find it HERE.

7.  Fanciful Chairs
And while we’re thinking of the outdoors...
How much fun are these?
Imagine a huge manicured garden, 
all formal green hedges and grass, no flowers.
Then imagine these chairs, in every colour, dotted hither and yon, 
as though put in place by a wizard on the ides of March.
Love them.
Find them HERE.

8.  Shop Dogs
Lucky me to belong to a book club in Nashville.  I try to attend each quarterly meeting,
 not just because I enjoy our all-classics reading list and delightful conversations, 
but because a trip to Nashville means I can spend an hour or so in Parnassus Books.
They have a sublime selections of books, it’s true.  
And the staff are always helpful and ready to tempt you
 with books you’ve never even heard of before. 
 But it’s the shop dogs that really make any visit irresistible.
Parnassus Books has a wonderful website now, 
with blogs from owner/author, Ann Patchett, staff recommendations
 and best of all, Shop Dog Diaries.  
You must visit and meet Sparky, shown above, as well as Gracie and Bear. 
And you’ll be hard pressed to find a more sincere and responsible shop dog than Opie, 
who has the distinction of penning the latest diary entry.
You will adore them.
Find the Parnassus Shop Dog Diaries HERE.

9.  Chicken in Milk
I found this recipe of Jamie Oliver’s last week and tried it for Sunday lunch.
With lemons, garlic, fresh sage and cinnamon, 
it is guaranteed to make your house smell so, so amazing.
And it is so, so delicious.
Find the recipe HERE.

 10.  The Grand Budapest Hotel
Simply cannot wait to see this movie.
See the trailer HERE.

See you soon with a new Winter Reading post!

Painting above by Ellen Dora Nicholson

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  1. Yes to more Sherlock. (and pretty textiles. Saw some gorgeous silk saris at a store in Baltimore today. Bright, soft, lovely.)


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  2. Dear Pamela: Your post is so varied and interesting. I especially love your mention of Parnassus Books. It seems as if the only missing item is an attached tea room. Can you imagine that yummy book shop combined with the tranquility of a cup of tea? I certainly can.
    Thank you for all of your wonderful sweet finds. I enjoy reading about all of them.

  3. I agree, there is no place like home. You make yours sound so very homely!

  4. Thank you for all your suggestions. I think up here in Michigan, we will finally see the grass in May. Our snow in the backyard is 3 feet deep. Your finds make you home sound lovely. I am going now to check out the yarn bowl!

  5. Great finds/picks Pamela. I don't cook/eat chicken but that recipe sounds awesome and I will pass it along to people whom I know will enjoy!
    Laughed non-stop at the movie trailer - a must see for me! What an awesome cast! I fell in love big time over Budapest in Oct. - what a city!
    Enjoyed the story of Apple's industrious try at knitting - that must be so funny to see.
    Your bed looks just the place to snuggle on these chilly Winter nights - beautiful, as is the sitting room (is that your home too?) As you know I'm so neutral in my decor, however, having fun now adding some indigo blues here and there and, never know, perhaps some other colors later!!!!!!

    Happy weekend - thanks for sharing the beauty. I've been thinking of reading Goldfinch - should I?
    Woof to Edward, and tell Apple I need a nice hand-knitted sweater for Spring - something loose and tunic length, haha!
    Hugs - Mary

  6. What a great garden have the whimsical, colorful chairs sitting around. No one would be standing!

  7. I love Wes Anderson movies. I, too, cannot wait. Also love anything Bloomsbury-ish. Those Charleston House inspired bags are so yummy, but I'm afraid I'd have to paint my own - no high fashion in this retiree's budget. And it would probably be more in keeping with the Bloomsbury ideal to do so. I've been missing Sherlock since it went away. So, so wish they could make more for each season, but would hate to dilute the quality. Your bed looks lovely and inviting.

  8. What super suggestions. I. too, would really much prefer to stay at home and read! -though I would venture out to Ann Patchett's bookshop if it were nearby.
    I have mixed feelings about The Goldfinch which my bookish and lovely cousin adored and recommended so highly. Though wonderful in parts , it could have been so much better if it had had a fierce and savvy editor to root out the anachronisms and bring down to maybe 500 pages.
    Yes, the Bloomsbury bags are bliss.

  9. What beautiful pillows, while not in the budget right now, I have "Favorited" your Etsy shop and will revisit when the time is right. I love your words and completely concur. I feel luck you to enjoy my home time as much as some of the fun-filled events and activities elsewhere.

    I was shocked when PBS announced that episode 3 of Sherlock Holmes was the season finale. What's up with that?!

    Enjoy your weekend.

  10. Thanks for the tip on the movie. I do not follow films but this one is my style.

  11. Wonderful post. Filled with lots of thoughts and inspiration.
    I'd love to have you join me at Seasonal Sundays.

    - The Tablescaper

  12. Hello Pamela,
    How absolutely right you are to say that sometimes there really is nowhere as wonderful as home. Just to be completely immersed in familiar things surrounded by one's chosen creature comforts is the stuff of which dreams are made. Lovely.

    And, what a magical list of deliciously decadent goodies you tempt us with here. Of course, for us The Grand Hotel Budapest is a must although we fear that it was almost entirely filmed in Germany. But, oh to have the Bloomsbury Life whether in faded antiques or decorated handbags...simply divine.

    Hoping all is well with you in your corner of the world. Thank you so much for your warmly welcoming comment. It is so good to be back!

  13. YOUR bed is STUNNING!I especially love the large pillows!

  14. We have a saying in the UK Pamela - "East, West, home's best" - I love the post and the accompanying pictures. Love the story about Apple and the yarn - a guilty dog can never hide his guilt!

  15. Love, love, love your list. And the description of your home. I am very excited about the Bloomsbury bags. And isn't The Goldfinch amazing!

  16. Pamela, I stumbled upon your delightful Blog via A Bloomsbury Life! What a fun discovery. I will look forward to following your posts as I have now bookmarked your address. Coincidentally, I have just begun to read The Goldfinch. I remember staying up far too late into the night finishing The Secret History as a twenty-something, and when I read the first few pages of this new novel, I remembered why I had loved her writing so much! There are a number of your interests that resonate with mine - the same way I enjoy Lisa Borgnes Giramonti's Blog. No signs of Spring here in the frozen Mid-West ...

  17. There is no place like home... I know exactly that delicious feeling of a night curled up exactly where you want to be...
    I just watched the video of "The Grand Budapest Hotel"... that does look like one not to miss...

    Enjoy your quiet time ( that's what I call it), Pamela... and now, I'm back to "The Goldfinch"... :) xv

  18. Just love that first photograph, it's stunning! What a great list, love those bags and everything else too! Great post.
    Have a great day~

  19. Thanks for your all suggestions,and these information are very useful too every one and also the list of snaps are looking so great I love it!!!!great news yar!!!!


  20. I love the yarn bowl. If you have the chance, check out Roger Cockram's website ( I confess to being somewhat of an addict!
    Have a lovely day.

  21. A delightful and whimsical list! I enjoy the comforts of home too especially in the company of fresh flowers, a good book, my husband and our dog.

  22. That chaise lounge for the pooches is fantastic! All we need now is a dog!


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