Monday, September 26, 2011

Ode to an Apple Tree

An apple tree puts to shame all the men and women that have attempted to dress since the world began. H.M. Beeher (1813 - 1887) Happy Picking!!!

Eatable Paintable Centerpiece


Monday, September 19, 2011

Interior Design Coach Yvonne Blacker

Following is an interview with Design Coach and Editor of New England Finery Magazine, Yvonne Blacker.

Yvonne is a Fine Arts and Advertising Communications graduate of Boston College. She has worked in the fields of Graphic Design and Marketing in the Boston area prior to being a mother to four (!) boys. This was the job which led Yvonne to discover her true passion of home decorating/design. Her ability to apply design strategies and principles to interior spaces served her clients well as she decorated and brought life to homes in need - a Visual Communicator Extraordinaire!

1. Tell us about some first creative moments that led you to this career in Interior Design.

" I have always loved to draw and create. All through high school I pursued artistic instruction and got my first real job at the age of 16 working in a gift shop. Although I was hired to ring the register, I began illustrating and lettering promotions for the store, and was soon relied upon to design ads for the local paper. I pursued art studies in college, did a lot of pen and ink illustrations and began to learn how to do it all on the computer, which I absolutely love! Upon having children, decorating our home became something I enjoyed and found I was pretty good at. This soon led to clients seeking advice, which parlayed me into the world of interior design. In March 2009, I began a blog, Design Vignettes as a way to chronicle and explore interesting design-related topics, which in turn led to the creation of an on-line magazine, New England Finery."

2. Connect the dots to your current position.

"As Editor at New England Finery, I am able to combine my love for interior and graphic design with marketing, which brings all of my education and work experiences full circle. The bi-monthly issues allow for a definite beginning and end to the project which is quite satisfying, as well as an opportunity to explore design topics in greater detail."

3. What is the best - and worst - aspect of your job as Interior Decorator.

"I enjoy helping clients tell their stories by utilizing their prized possessions while creating a beautiful home. It is also very satisfying to help them discover their design sensibility while teaching them how to pull it all together with color and fabrics. The worst part of this job for me is spending money as my philosophy of working with what you have and the resources at hand resonates through and through."

4. What would your colleagues be surprised to learn about you?

"Probably that my house is far from 'done'.... My husband and I bought a fixer-upper and we have been fixing-it-up for eight years now! It is an old farmhouse with an attached barn that I have dreams to turn into a family room/function hall... someday. It would be a good thing if we get around to renovating it within the next five years - in time for our oldest son's graduation from high school!"

5. Are there any obstacles to your ambitions?

"Running out of time! Our family life is pretty simple and we try not to over schedule the kids or ourselves. However, managing a household of six people is time consuming to say the least. I probably food shop every three days and do two to three loads of laundry daily! When I am working on meeting a deadline for New England Finery, I have to shut my office door in order to get it done. I am willing to let a lot of housekeeping slide when it's crunch time."

6. Name a pet peeve.

"I like rooms that don't feel like they come out of a particular catalogue, store, or showroom. I prefer layered looks with a variety of furnishings from different sources. Personal objects that are unique to the homeowners are far more interesting to me than pieces that I have seen repeated over again. A home should reflect the people who live there, not someone else's design story."

7. What is your most treasured possession?

"I'd have to say my camera! I take it everywhere I go and use it to record family memories, to chronicle my work and to capture views of the world that inspires me. A close second would be my computer. With it I can bring my ideas to life, whether they are in the form of a magazine layout or a design board for a decorating client. I am on it every day and have serious withdrawal symptoms when apart from it for too long! There is one decorative item - a pretty chandelier - hanging in my office that was chosen especially for me; it makes me smile every time I see it."

Yvonne Blacker can be contacted at Yvonne Blacker Interiors.


Monday, September 12, 2011

H is for Hazel Atlas

Hazel Ware Capri, Dots pattern, 1960's

Ovide pattern (1923 - 1935)

Starlight pattern (1938 - 1940)

Ribbon pattern (1932)

Hairpin pattern (1936-1940)

Colonial Block pattern (1920's - 1930's)

Beehive pattern (1950's)

Newport pattern (1936 - 1940)

Moderntone pattern (1934 - early 1950's)

Hazel Ware Capri, Colonial Swirl pattern, 1960's

In 1902, Hazel Atlas Glass Company was founded in Washington, PA, a result of a merger between four companies: Hazel Glass & Metals Co. (1887), the Atlas Glass Co. (1896), Wheeling Metal Plant, and the Republic Glass Co. The Hazel Atlas Glass Company expanded into fifteen locations (including plants in WV, OH, AL, and CA among others) to become the largest manufacturer of glassware in the world! Although utilitarian products from paste bottles to cold cream and mayonnaise jars represented the bulk of the company's assets, it was the expansion into dinnerware that catapulted the company to stardom. In the early 1920's through the Depression, Hazel Atlas produced beautiful affordable table ware in a myriad of colors and styles, beginning with the Ovide pattern (1923). Initially manufactured in green only it ultimately sustained Hazel Atlas for the next thirty years as the number one producer of Depression Glass. Its dinnerware line was expanded into the following patterns: Aurora/Lydia Roy (1937-38), Cloverleaf (1930-36), Colonial Block (1920's-30's), Florantine 1&2 ((1932-1953), Fruits (1931-53), Moderntone/Wedding Band (1934-early 50's), Platonite (1930-40), New Century (1930-35), Newport/Hairpin (1936-40), Ovide (1923-35), Ribbon/Roxana (1932), Royal Lace (1934-42), Ships, and Starlight (1938-40).

A myriad of colors were introduced such as Sunset Pink, yellow, Ritz Blue, amethyst and opaque white glass (similar to the milk glass popularized during the Victorian era). Hazel Atlas colors were distinguishable from other glass companies with trademarks and patents on several designs. Despite the variety of colors available, the most popular continued to be clear, green and Platonite (a process whereby color was essentially sprayed over opaque white glass). The 'HA' mark was first used in 1923 on the undersides of glassware, represented with the letter 'A' nestled under the letter 'H'.

Hazel Atlas' success made them one of the few publicly traded companies to pay a stock dividend during the Great Depression of the 1930's. The company remained in business until it was bought out by the Continental Can Company in 1956, with a line of Hazelware produced until 1963. You may find this awesome vintage Made in the USA glassware just about anywhere - beginning in your mom's or grandma's basements.... Have fun using and decorating with this happy Depression Glass from Hazel Atlas, guaranteed to make you smile!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Labor (Not) Day

Farewell Summer!

Labor Day, the US Federal Holiday celebrated on the first Monday in September, was first observed on 5 September, 1882. It is celebrated by most Americans as the symbolic end of summer....sigh...

For women in High Society, Labor Day was considered the last day of the year when it was fashionable to wear white. So, in honor of this holiday...I slack on my regular Monday post, relax with my family, wear white, and wish you all a lovely Labor-Not Day. Enjoy!
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