Monday, January 28, 2013

Words To Live By

The start of a new week has arrived bringing with it a load of new opportunities. The quote above by Roman philosopher Lucius Annaeus Seneca is a reminder that preparation and opportunity are factors that lead us to that lucky break. In this way of thought, we are capable of making our own luck. So, forget looking for those lucky clovers and get to work preparing for the next opportunity that may come knocking.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

The White House

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue is one of the most famous addresses in the United States Of America.  It is the location of the oldest public building in D.C., and is know though out the world by its color alone.  The White House.

Over the last 200 years the White House has stood as an icon of power and statesmanship of the chief executive. Work started on this American icon in 1793. Near completion in 1800, John Adams the second president of the United States was the first to move into the White House. On August 24, 1814, british forces captured Washington and burned the White House destroying the building, nothing but brick work remained. Reconstruction started in 1815, and the White House was completed in 1817. Throughout the reconstruction, and alterations the basic structure of the iconic White House has remained unchanged.

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A few months ago I had the opportunity to tour the White House. With the Presidential inauguration fresh in everyone's head I thought this would be a nice time to share a few of my favorite rooms in the White House.

A large well lit entrance way welcomes guests. The above photo is a corner of the entry way that displays the playful checkered pattern floors made of Tennessee marble, and showcases the bold red and gold color pallet.

The Cross Hall carries the red and gold color pallet down a corridor lit by two absolutely amazing Adam-style chandeliers made in London around 1775.

At the end of the Cross Hall lays the largest room of the White House, the East Room. 
This room was not completed until 1826.

The East Room is adorned in gold colored silk fabric and lit by three grand chandeliers that date back to 1902. The room is home to four beautiful Rosso Collemandina marble fireplaces.

The East Rooms leads into the Green Room. The Green Room is one of my favorite rooms in the White House. The color of the room has a calming effect, and the art collection featured here is incredible. Once used as Thomas Jeffersons dinning room, the Green Room is now used as a reception parlor. The furniture was made in New York by Duncan Phyfe around 1810. The walls are covered in watered silk, and the drapes are of striped silk damask. The white Italian marble mantel was purchased in 1818 and then installed in 1902.

The coffee urn featured in this photo was owned by President John Adams. The Candlesticks on either side are from France and were used by president James Madison. 

The Green Room leads into the Blue Room.  This oval shaped room is located in the center of the state floor of the White House. Historically the Blue Room has been a place for the President to receive guests of the White House. The round shape of the room insures that no one will stuck in the corner.

President James Monroe purchased the seven french chairs and one sofa seen in this room 
after the fire of 1814.

The Blue Room leads into the Red Room. This room is said to be a favorite of many First Ladies. 

Decorated as an American Empire parlor of 1810, the room features a white Italian marble mantel identical to the one residing in the Green room.

The Red  Room leads into the State Dinning Room. This room can seat 140 guests. Carved into the mantel of the fireplace is a quote from a letter by President John Adams, it reads 
"I pray heaven to bestow the best blessings on This House and all that shall hereafter inhabit it. May none but honest and wise men ever rule under this roof."

The photo above features one of the three marble toped console tables with eagle supports found in the State Dining room. These tables were made by the AH Davenport company of Boston. 

On the ground floor of the White House you will find many more rooms. My favorite of all being the China Room. Decorated in a vivid red and white color pallet the room is almost centered around a large oil portrait of Grace Coolidge, painted in 1924 by Howard Chandler Christy.

In 1917 the room was set aside by First Lady Edith Wilson for use of displaying pieces of china and glass used by the presidential family. It is like a walking into a treasure box that features a stunning, and historic collection. When I grow up, I want a room like this.

There is tons more to see in the White House. If you are planning a trip to D.C. contact your state congress members and request a tour. Keep in mind tour requests can take months to process.
If you want a tour of the White House without leaving your computer, look no further than google maps. They now have a virtual tour that anyone can take from the comfort of your own home.

I hope these photos help to inspire you to go out and explore something grand this weekend.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Ladies First

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They say behind every successful man stands a strong woman. While it is time a woman serves The United States of America as President - there is a long standing history of strong women in The White House serving our country as The First Lady. The First Lady is the woman who makes The White House, a home. In this highly visible position she sets the stage for international political guests to our country, and has a platform to advocate for specific causes to help further social progress. 

In celebration of the First Lady. Here are a few photos of signature items created for and adored by past Presidential First Ladies. This collection is found in the Smithsonian Museum of American History. 

The photo above features samples from the First Lady's china collection. Top Left, Mary Lincoln's china pattern 1861. Bess Truman's china pattern 1945. Lucy Hayes's china pattern 1877. Right side, Sarah Polk's china pattern 1845

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Above is the 1890 inaugural gown of  Caroline Scott Harrison. This First Lady lent her prestige to the founding of the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution.

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Edith Wilson's gown is from 1915. As First Lady during World War I, Mrs. Wilson set sheep to graze on the White House lawn rather than waste gasoline in mowing it. The wool from the sheep was then auctioned off for the benefit of the American Red Cross. 
In the background sits Julia Grant's gown from 1869. The fabric for this dress is made from silk given from the Emperor of China.

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Jacqueline Kennedy's 1961 state dinner dress stands to the left and fades into the background while her signature three row pearl neckless takes center stage. 

I hope these photos showcase the triumph of women in history marked by their own personal signature style.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Another Page In American History

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Today there are many reasons to celebrate. A fresh new page in American history has now been added, and time will write the next chapter to the ever evolving novel that is United States History. 
With such a turbulent environment as we are living in today - there is merit in looking back into the past and seeing how far we as a nation have come. Though sometime progress seems painfully slow, it is encouraging to see that change is happening. 

With this in mind I hope you welcome change into your new week. 

Friday, January 18, 2013

An Urban Winter Escape

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It happens to us all at some point in time during the winter season. The cold dreary feeling that starts to overwhelm and take over all you see. The only cure is an escape to a warm, and lush oasis. 
If you don't have the time to fly away to a tropical paradise, I have found the next best thing.

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The United States Botanic Garden is an indoor oasis located at the foot of Capital Hill in Washington D.C. Established in 1820 it is one of the the oldest botanic gardens in North America. 
The U.S. Botanic Garden maintains around 12,000 amazing accessions.
Here are a few of my favorites currently on display.

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Enchanting topiaries engage whimsical woodland thoughts. 

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Star Bunny Studio 2013

Bright colorful heliconia's in bloom help to brighten the day.

Star Bunny Studio 2013

Star Bunny Studio 2013

 As a tranquil fountain fills the air with soft sounds of water, and exotic passion flowers gently float on the waters surface. You can feel the winters chill melt away.

I hope these images inspire you to find an winter urban oasis of your own this weekend.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

DIY Makeover

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I have been trying to spend more time in the kitchen, attempting to learn how to cook. 
I started looking closer at the tools I used most often. My knife and a plain wooden spoon are usually the first tools I grab. I wanted to dress up my wooden spoons to create something more visually appealing and came up with this wooden spoon makeover idea.

For This Makeover You Will Need:

* Wooden Spoons

* Scotch Blue Painter's Tape For Multi-Surfaces

 * Scotch Blue Painter's Tape For Delicate Surfaces

* Gold Spray Paint

* White Acrylic Paint

* Acrylic Clear Coat Spray

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Using Scotch Blue Painter's Tape For Multi-Surfaces, 
mask off the wooden spoon handles creating a striped design. 

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Lightly spray the wooden spoon handles with gold paint. After they have dried, seal the handles with a spray of acrylic clear coat. Allow to dry, then remove the tape from the handles of the wooden spoons.

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As a finishing touch, mask off the gold stripes on the wooden spoon handles with Scotch Blue Painter's Tape For Delicate Surfaces so not to harm the newly painted surface. Then paint in white stripes on the handels with white acrylic paint. Allow the paint to dry, then seal the handles with another spray of acrylic clear coat. Allow to dry again, and then remove the tape from the wooden spoon handles.

Now - What's for dinner?

Monday, January 14, 2013

Creatures Of Habit

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The second week of the new year has arrived and with it an opportunity to continue on all those little tasks 
that have accumulated on the "To-Do" list. 
The new year is a time for reflection and adjustments. The quote above by Aristotle serves as a reminder that establishing a new routine and creating positive habits takes training at first, but will quickly become an established action with time. Don't give up on establishing a new change in life. 
Change can be difficult, but we would never progress in life without it.

With this in mind, I hope you have a wonderfully positive and productive week!

Friday, January 11, 2013

New Town Exploration

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Moving to a new town outside the city has been quite a change. 
I took some time to explore  the downtown area of my new little town and I was charmed by what I saw. 

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This lovely copper top gazebo sets the stage and invokes charm in the town commons.

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A local business adds some flair to the outside of the establishment.  

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Truth be known, I am not a fan of pom-pom's. Not At All. However this handmade antique quilt has almost changed my mind. I love how these fuzzy little polka dots create a fun abstracted simplify flower pattern. While the two color cobalt blue and white color pallet makes a fresh statement. 

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If I only had hundreds of dollars burning a hole in my pocket. I fell head over heels in LOVE with this antique printer's chest. They had two matching chests. I want both!

This little walking tour of my new town has remind me there is always more that what meets the eye.
I hope you get out and explore something new this weekend.

Monday, January 7, 2013

It Is True What They Say..

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The first week of January has flown by, and I have returned to my new house to start the new year. 

The topic "what makes a house, a home" is resting in my mind. 

It seems Winter is the fitting season to ponder this, as we spend more of our time inside our domiciles. 
A home to me is a place of comfort, and inspiration. A place to recharge, and relax with those we love. 
Creating a space to accomplish this is always easier said then done.
 I look forward to tackling this task and sharing my discoveries along the way. 

With this in mind, I wish you a productive and positive week!

Friday, January 4, 2013

Winter Wonderland Adventures

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The winter season is officially upon us. A time for family, friends, and sometimes snow. Lots of snow if you find yourself in Michigan. Here are a few winter photos from a recent road trip up into the great white north.

Star Bunny Studio 2013

Star Bunny Studio 2013

Many people may think of lake Michigan as a summer getaway, as you can see it is also beautiful in the winter.
 I hope these photos help to inspire you to go out and find a winter adventure of your own this weekend.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year

A new year with new opportunities has arrived. It is time to reflect on past success, and future goals. 
Today we start making progress on future plans and developments.
Let your dreams be your guide and let's build a path to a more joyful tomorrow.  
Happy New Year!