This has been a good week so far. My Thyroiditis is waning and I'm feeling better. So much so that I decided to get out and shop a bit yesterday for some new vintage inventory for T-Party. I think I found some wonderful things. Have a look . . .
The picture frames, hats, clothing and shoes are all from the same collector. I don't usually buy or sell vintage clothing, but this lady practically begged me to take these items off her hands because she is moving. The hats are amazing; from the 1920s to the 1940s and in great condition. I photographed only some of them; there are over 65 in all!
The ornate frames are pretty cool, too. They would be perfect to hang as is, sans pictures, like they show in so many decorating magazines.
The remaining items are from my favorite antiques mall. Sometimes I go there and don't find a thing. But I got lucky this time and came across some things that are truly charming, don't you think?
More from our afternoon last week in New York City. As promised, here's a brief look at our tour of the Museum of Modern Art along with a little story from my art school days.
As you walk into the main area of MoMA, an installation of some sort was in progress. Several artists were placing vivid stripes of tape on the floor. They must have been working on this for weeks and weeks and they still have the center of the area to finish. Very cool!
On to some highlights . . . by Warhol, Picasso, Johns, Monet, Matisse, Chagall, Lichtenstein, Van Gogh and so much more. And on to my little story.
It's always thrilling to see these pieces since I studied each of these artists when I was in college. As a Fine Arts major at Washington University in St. Louis, I was required to take four years of Art History. Luckily I had an incredible teacher, a man named Norris K. Smith. (Do you remember the TV newscaster Howard K. Smith? Norris was his younger brother.)
As a Wash. U. art student, I had two three-hour-long studio classes daily, things like drawing, color theory, painting, etc. So somehow I had to fit my other required classes around these studios. Art History met at the way-too-early hour of 7:30 a.m.
Norris K. Smith was a brilliant professor, but remaining alert while sitting in cushy chairs in a darkened auditorium as he lectured and showed slides was a challenge. I would see heads bobbing all around me as students fought to stay awake. Some would just give up and snooze. If they began to snore, Mr. Smith would use his flashlight from the podium to awaken and embarrass them.
During class, I was determined not to miss a thing. I willed myself to stay awake by taking copious notes and making little sketches of the works Mr. Smith showed us so I would remember everything. (Boy, camera phones or digital cameras sure would have come in handy. But this was the late 1970s.)
Mr. Smith's final exam was quite challenging. We were asked to identify and write about pieces by the artists he covered in class. But on the test, he never used any of the actual works of art he had shown us. Instead, Mr. Smith tested us on related works we had never seen before. So you really had to know your stuff!
Now you see how important it was to stay alert and not sleep in this class. (Hey, is that my daughter texting a friend, above, instead of looking at that painting? Pay attention, Hannah!)
On the final, all of my hard work paid off. I was so proud to receive an "A."
I began to realize that this class was more than just memorizing facts and pictures. It taught me how to recognize, analyze and enjoy art. For that, I am grateful.
And here's what I find most remarkable. As I strolled through the museum with my daughter, I still heard Norris K. Smith's voice in my head. Much of what he taught me about these artists I still remember thirty years later.
Now that is the mark of an exceptional teacher.
After our winter break, we hosted a lovely group of ladies for a baby shower at T-Party on Saturday. Amanda, the expectant mom, had many friends and family in for tea.
Once everyone was done sipping and eating and the presents were opened, Amanda requested a Tarot card reading. That's Cynthia's forte, so here's a little peek at Amanda's reading . . .
You have to admit, there's something irresistible about casting one's fate by shuffling the cards and laying them out on the table for all to see, looking into the unknown, and having one's life explained by a stranger. That said, we don't take any of this seriously at T-Party. Our Tarot readings are all in fun and that's what everyone had at T-Party that afternoon.
What a nice bunch of ladies. We wish Amanda all the best.
Our day in Manhattan was such fun. And it's a good thing we went yesterday, as today we're getting buried in lots and lots of snow.
First off, my daughter and I went to Tinsel Trading Company, a truly great store that is brimming with inspiration. This place really gets your creative juices flowing. They graciously let me snap loads of photos. My goal is that I want you will feel like you've been there, too. I hope I was successful!
Here's a little tour . . .
Click on any of the photos if you'd like an enlarged view.
After Tinsel Trading, Hannah and I walked just up the street to Lord & Taylor. I love this old department store because it's a such a classic. We browsed around a bit, spending most of our time in their spectacular shoe department. Then we took a little break for a cup of tea at their cafe.
Next it was time to meet my niece at her office. When we arrived, she told us a Tim Gunn sighting was imminent! You see, not only is he on my favorite TV show, Project Runway, he is also the CEO of the company my niece works for. Mr. Gunn was to be joining a lunch meeting that was in the main open area of my niece's floor. But alas, Tim was running late and we didn't get to see him. Oh well; maybe next time.
My nephew joined us and we went to lunch at a deli called Ben's. Then my niece and nephew headed back to their respective jobs and Hannah and I made our way to the Museum of Modern Art. It was just amazing and I promise to write a post about MOMA soon.
In the meantime, let it snow, and snow, and snow!
We are closed for winter break this week at T-Party. So this post is for those of you who've never been in and also for our current customers who want to do a little virtual browsing while we're away.
I hope you've enjoyed these photos of
some of the "smalls" we have for sale at our sweet little antiques shop and
tea room. We'll reopen on Saturday, but in the meantime, I'm enjoying having time off to spend with my family. Today we head into New York City for lunch with my niece and nephew. Hopefully we'll hit a museum and I plan to stop by Tinsel Trading at last. Should be a fun day!
I have a special spiral notebook. Consisting of a simple, inexpensive sketch book with my own handmade cover, it's filled with tear sheets from shelter magazines.
Though I enjoy these decorating magazines, I don't collect them because I never have the time to peruse them again. Instead, I either pass them on to a friend or recycle them. But before they go in the recycling bin, I make sure to quickly leaf through them one more time and tear out only my absolute favorite photos. These pictures get pasted into this book. Here's a peek inside . . .
Click on any of the photos if you'd like an enlarged view.
The last few pages are devoted to paint swatches and fabric samples from each of the rooms in our house. If I'm out shopping for something specific that needs to match, I take this book along and have everything I need at my fingertips.
Isn't my little inspiration book fun? And it really never ceases to inspire me.
I walk for exercise almost every morning (except Saturday as that's our busiest day at T-Party and I want to conserve my energy). I especially look forward to walking on Sunday because John joins me. I love the company; every other day it's just me and my iPod.
On our walk today, we slowed down so I could photograph some wonderful little cottages we pass along our way. Have a look . . .
Aren't they sweet? Click on any of the photos if you'd like an enlarged view.
I'm a big cottage advocate. They are so cozy and keep family members in close proximity. And these smaller homes conserve natural resources because they are more economical to heat.
Way too many houses in our area are being torn down and replaced with ridiculously large structures that do not blend in with the surrounding neighborhood. I so don't believe that bigger is better.
Just as one of the easiest ways to recycle is to buy previously owned items, saving and living in these wonderful houses insures that they will be well cared for and be around for generations to come. We hope to downsize to a cottage in a few years. I can't wait!
A lovely grouping of green vintage pottery can now be found for sale on our sister blog, Kitsch Encounter.
I've always been partial to anything green. Abundant in nature, green signifies growth. It is a calm, restful color that is soothing to the eye.
Click here, Kitsch Encounter, to be redirected to where you'll find more photos, prices and detailed descriptions of each item.
Isn't it time you went green?
As you know, the shelves in our family room are home to my collection of green and aqua pottery. But my infatuation with art pottery doesn't stop there. Along the sunny windows in my dining room you'll find old white shelves. This spot is perfect for some of my indoor plants as well as my large collection of white art pottery.
My vintage pieces have a matte white glaze which I prefer over a shiny finish. Most were made by McCoy or Shawnee in the 1940s and 50s.
These shelves also hold my gardening books. On a cold winter day like today, I enjoy sitting in my sunny dining room and leafing through these books for garden inspiration.
Mixed in with these vintage ceramic pieces are a couple of terra cotta flower pots that I painted myself. The pot, below left, sports a bumble bee with this quote written in script along the rim, "If you let the bee be, the bee will let you be." These pots are a fun and simple project that I plan to explain in detail in another post.
If you're thinking about starting a collection of pottery, it's best to stick to two basic principles to keep the collection cohesive: collect all of the same color; and for more impact, display the collection in one area instead of scattering the pieces around your house.
Most of my white art pottery pieces are on these shelves in my dining room. But I will admit that I have a few more small items that live in an oak secretary-style desk in my living room. I'll save a peek at that desk for another post, too.
Now back to my gardening books . . .
The lucky lady is . . . Susan of Black Eyed Susan's Kitchen.
Congratulations! I do hope you'll enjoy my Grand Central Terminal poster.
Thank you to those who participated. It was so lovely to hear from all of you. And a special thanks to Wendy of Something for Sophie and Vintage Cate of A Charmed Life as well as Susan of Black Eyed Susan's Kitchen for helping to promote my little giveaway on their sites. By doing so, they were able to enter the drawing twice, and it certainly paid off for Black Eyed Susan!
Yesterday was the start of our valentine theme teas at T-Party. Just look at these delectable treats Cynthia has created for this very special Grand Afternoon Tea . . .
Here is what's on our menu through February14:
Tea Sandwiches: English cucumber; chive egg salad; basil chicken salad; cream cheese and ginger preserves; roasted turkey with cranberry mustard.
Scones: Assorted fruit scones with clotted cream and strawberry preserves.
Desserts: Mini valentine cupcake; heart sugar cookie; strawberry tartlet; sweetheart brownie cake.
We had a diverse group of tea patrons in for this Valentine tea yesterday. The table below had three generations along with a couple of dogs!
When our tiniest patrons bring along a friend, we provide a vintage toy highchair for visiting stuffed animals or dolls. This sweet little girl put her pups in and lent them her napkin, too. So cute!
Due to my wacky Thyroiditis, here's where I've been spending more time than usual lately . . .
Not that I'm complaining. Our master bedroom is the perfect place to read a book or take a cat nap.
It's a restful haven complete with a cozy reading chair, old oak dressers, a writing table and some of my favorite picnic tins that I use for storage.
At 20 by 21 feet, the master bedroom is actually the largest room in our house.
It even has its own set of back stairs which lead to our family room and kitchen in case one is in need of a late night snack!
Even though it's a big room with a vaulted ceiling, it's still cozy, don't you think?
The warm wall color is called Apple Taffy by California Paints. I painted it myself a couple of years ago.
So that concludes the little tour of my peaceful refuge. Thanks for taking a peek.
And thank you to all of the nice people who left such sweet comments with their well wishes on my last post. You made my day!
These beautiful flowers were given to me by my sweet children. Hannah gave me the lovely bouquet and Jacob brought home the pretty little Primrose for me as get well presents. As I mentioned a few posts ago, I haven't been feeling right lately. A blood test revealed I am having a thyroid problem which has made me feel tired and jittery along with a host of other ailments. It's been a rough few weeks.
I met with an endocrinologist who was certain I had Graves Disease, a type of autoimmune disease that causes over-activity of the thyroid gland. This doctor strongly recommended that I start treatment as soon as possible. I felt undue pressure from him and deep in my gut, I felt he just wasn't the right doctor for me. So here's my advise to anyone out there facing a medical issue . . .
Get a second opinion! I made an appointment with another doctor with whom I had spoken on the phone and felt an immediate rapport. I also had a special thyroid uptake and scan test at the hospital. A couple of days later, John and I met with the second doctor to discuss my treatment options. She reviewed my uptake test, looked at me and said. "I have good news! You don't have Graves Disease!"
Wow . . . I was so happy I started to cry! The uptake test confirmed that I have Thyroiditis which is caused by a virus. Although it may take several months to resolve, it is manageable and will get better over time.
Beta blockers are helping me for now, along with the love and support of my dear family. Whew! I am so relieved and grateful.
To celebrate The T-Cozy's 200th post, I am hosting a little giveaway. The winner will be randomly selected and will receive a very special poster designed by yours truly. Let me tell you about it . . .
Before I opened T-Party Antiques and Tea Room five years ago, I was a graphic designer for over two decades. At the beginning of my career, I worked in New York City for a variety of firms and I was fortunate to work on some really interesting projects. For instance, when I did corporate communications for an ad agency called DDB Needham Worldwide, I got to design a series of postage stamps for the United Nations Postal Administration. Very cool! But my all-time favorite project is the poster that is this giveaway's prize.
Back in 1983, I became the first design director for Metro-North Commuter Railroad, the train company in my area that takes passengers to the city from all of the towns north of Manhattan. I designed pieces for both commuter and corporate purposes; things like newsletters, brochures, logos and posters. And the most interesting project I designed there was a poster celebrating Grand Central Terminal, the station where Metro-North trains originate.
I decided I wanted to include historic images of this famous train station in the poster. The "powers that be" at Metro-North allowed me to root through ancient filing cabinets to search for artifacts. I found beautiful old photos and amazing architectural plans of the terminal. I also had our staff photographer, Frank English, shoot some pictures for me. The only limitations were that the poster could only be printed in two colors of ink and it had to be 24 by 36 inches.
The finished printed posters were given as gifts to dignitaries visiting the railroad and each Metro-North employee received one, as well. So these vintage 1984 posters are pretty rare! I have a very small, private stash so I'm offering one as my giveaway prize. I hope you like it.
Here's what you need to do if you'd like to be entered
into the drawing for this poster. Simply leave a comment on this post. For those who have never left a comment on a blog
before and want to give it a try, simply click on the word "Comments"
at the end of the post. Then at the bottom, there will be a box for you
to sign in (don't worry if you don't have a TypeKey or TypePad
account). Fill in your name, email address, URL (if you have one) and
your comment. Then click the word "Post." If it asks you to type in a word to verify you're not a robot, do that, too. Now wasn't that easy?
The deadline to enter is Friday, February 8 at 9pm EST. You may also enter a second time if you post about my giveaway on your blog (if you have one) and link back to this post. Feel free to pick up "The T-Cozy's 200th Post Giveaway" art located at the beginning of this post to help spread the word.
I do hope you've enjoyed The T-Cozy thus far. I am especially grateful to those who have given me advice and encouragement along the way. If you have taken the time to leave a comment in the past, thank you! Those of you who have been a little shy about commenting, please don't be. I'd love to hear from you.