Friday, January 7, 2011


I'm piggybacking on a post by the lovely mom of the Duncan Boys, who recently blogged about what she doesn't usually photograph when taking pictures of her home. I noted in the comments section of her post that I'd planned to blog about this photograph:

This is Gwyneth Paltrow, photographed by Vogue, in a picture I found on Hooked On Houses. This photo struck me, because how often do you see a photo of a celebrity mother that shows evidence that she is, actually, a mother?

I'm not talking about the photographs of the perfectly designed high end children's bedroom (which I have nothing against - would that a designer be interested in installing a high end children's bedroom - which one of my kid's bedrooms may I empty for you??). I'm not a person who wants to thumb through a shelter magazine and look at someone else's mess and junk. I have my own, thankyouverymuch. While I hear a lot of complaints about design photographs that don't show people's "stuff", I'm generally not one to join the braying. A design photograph should show me the design - I can then install it and bring my own messy living to the furnishings quite nicely. Nevertheless, there is something about Gwyneth's photo that called to me.

The photograph doesn't even seem messy to me - it's just realistic. This is what a home that houses children looks like in the hours between waking and bedtime. Imperfect, yet vibrant. I like that Vogue and Ms. Paltrow decided it was okay to show the toys and boots and gave us, the readers, credit: we can still see the beauty of the home, we can still lust over that spectacular range hood, we can still note the brilliance of the white palette. A beautiful mess.

Like life.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

A Spot of Tea

(Yes, I know this blog has been dormant for a while. There are reasons. Meanwhile....)

I love tea, as in the activity. The drink is nice, too. A few months ago I finally got around to hosting a semi-formal tea (semi because I served tea buffet style). I spent a few months before that collecting a variety of teacups and saucers so that I could create an interesting display of china, invited my friends over, and ate my weight in confection dusted carbohydrates. Yum, tea.
Missing from my efforts was the perfect teapot. What I'd like is a silver teapot, that I know for sure. What I'm unsure about is whether or not I'd like a silver sugar bowl and creamer to go with, or if I want to stick to my normal, white ceramic serving pieces for these. And I don't know if I want my silver teapot to be traditional, transitional, modern, eclectic... currently there are about five hundred teapots I'd like to have, so you can see how this might become an issue.

I love the concept of this teapot... set it on the stove to boil, wait for the design to appear (indicating boiling water), and then use it to serve:

ONE Kettle
But it's not silver, and I know eventually I'd resume the want for a shining vessel. Pottery Barn offers this gorgeous mirror polished plated teapot:

The elegance of a silver teapot is hard to top, although I need to do some research to figure out if there is anything to worry about as the teapot ages. The inside of an aged silverplated pot can look scary, and although the interior is generally not silver, I don't know what it is or if I should be drinking bits of it.

Properly serving would mean a silver tea service, on an elegant silver tray:

I love the ornate details of that set, but I have to admit even though I lean traditional, I might tire of the busyness of those pieces. Plus, I sense they'd be a nightmare to polish (especially since I get around to polishing the silver pieces I already own - a punchbowl, some candlesticks, coasters, jewelry) about once a year. Therefore, flat surfaces are a lot easier to bring to a shine).

As much as I love tea, I was well into my thirties before I had it in a high tea setting for the first time, when my husband and I visited his grandmother in London. I said then and I repeat today that I could easily adapt to a country where it's perfectly acceptable to stop what you're doing in favor of scones at 3pm.

Wilmot Orchards

Back in the States, my family tends to eat a big pancake breakfast on Sunday mornings that does not leave much room or desire for lunch. We graze in late afternoon with a sort of tea, nothing formal and certainly with no silver teapot (having not yet purchased one!), followed by a late, light dinner. My hope is that we get a little more formal about Sunday tea as I think it would be a nice tradition to pass down to my half-English children.

But first... I must find and commit to a teapot.