Saturday, December 20, 2014

FIVE BABIES, SIX DOGS, MANY CUPS OF TEA
...and a Margarita or Two




It has been 18 years since I first met my friend Lisa. I know this because when we met, I was round rolly polly pregnant with Katherine and Jonathan, who are now 18.  Lisa was round and pregnant with Catherine, but not as round as me. I won the round contest. After I gave birth, and lost a little "water weight," she said, "wow, your face isn't round." I still laugh.



My teacup music box. A gift from Lisa

We would drink tea together and she would knit. She tried to teach me to knit. I couldn't talk and count stitches at the same time. She could. I knew then that she was amazing.





 We had a lot in common. Our birthdays are three days apart. We are both only children. We are both writers. And we lived behind each other. We would walk to each others' houses, and sit on the floor with all three of our babies, her two year old,  and our two dogs. Her dog was white and furry, mine was black and furry. I could never figure out why my babies were always covered with fur and spit up, and hers were always clean.



Katherine's baby hat

I relied on Lisa a lot.  For instance, people asked us what we fed our babies. She would say Healthy Brand baby food. I would say, "Me too." They would say, "What baby doctor do you use?" She would say, "Dr. Good." I would say, "Me too. I'm too tired to think, so I just do whatever she does."




One day when our babies were a few months old, I whined, "Are they ever going to SLEEP?" She said, "Here, read this book."   "Read???" I asked. "I can't even open my eyes." She said, "It's organized by age. You just have to read the first chapter." Within a week my babies were sleeping for way more than 20 minutes at a clip. Best book I ever read. Leave me a comment if you want the title. 




Once when were trying to remember how to do something besides raise babies, we decided to get away with a group of girlfriends. That was a very good weekend. Lisa won the "sexiest feet" contest. Don't get the wrong idea. It was a G-rated contest.  But it was a very, very good weekend. Did I mention that Lisa was the one who introduced me to Margaritas?



Sunday, December 14, 2014

CHRISTMAS GRAINSACKS
...and a great birthday present.


These antique grainsacks are some of my favorites. The color and style of the stripe was use to identify the farm to which the grain belonged. This must have been a very festive farm!



Antique grainsacks are a great way to decorate for the holidays: I use them as table runners or slide them over chair backs.



Gina sewed a few into festive Christmas pillows for me. Of course we added a little bling.

A pour spout was used to pour out the grain. While not all authentic grainsacks have these, if they do, it can be a hint that the grainsack is indeed authentic and not a "repro."


BLING ;)



Christmas is a great time to combine the rustic texture of a grainsack with a little holiday sparkle.






On a more personal note, today is my birthday (I'm 39 again. I've been 39 a LOT). Yesterday, my baby found out she got into two colleges! What a great birthday present for me. I am going to miss her so much  but I am so excited and proud. Congratulations Katherine!!! You ARE a rock star! Love, mom

Sunday, November 30, 2014




One of my favorite places to be during the Christmas season is at the barn. A favorite Christmas eve of mine was spent riding in a dimly lit arena with no sounds but the falling snow and hooves softly hitting the dirt. So peaceful.


 Jack the horse loves cold weather. He's got his green winter horse blanket on in preparation for the  holiday festivities.


The grass IS always greener on the other side of the fence!



 You can take the girl out of the barn, but you can't take the barn out of the girl. This is a pair of pillows I made for TheLilyHome.com from an antique German grainsack. The horse and all writing were hand done using wood and hot tar to burn in the design. Grain sacks with designs of horses are really rare, and very sought after.



 This beautiful settee found a home with a horse loving family. I did the entire loveseat in antique European homespun linen. It is so soft, and so durable. The back is covered in an antique German grainsack dating from 1913.


French Equestrian grainsack wall hanging from TheLilyHome.com

It will make a great wall hanging. Do you see the hand-stitched patchwork?



Among my collection of antique French and European textiles are my antique European duvet covers. I am curled up under one on my sofa right now. Okay I get that there is no horse on this, but it fits SO well with any equestrian home, any barn home, or any country home at all. Whether in Texas or the French countryside, these antique duvets just work beautifully. And they are washable! Look for more of these at TheLilyHome.com and if you don't see what you want, email me at FreshDesignGroup@gmail.com or leave me a comment here. I have many more than what are on my website. 

Perfect for the country Christmas!

Monday, November 17, 2014

 STORING COLORS FOR THE WINTER



I'm loving orange lately. Not just any orange but that super saturated, rich type of hot, hot orange.  



Hot orange silk
I am using this hot orange color in my own home as well as my clients' homes this Autumn. I like to add accents of it in pillows and throws, so that in winter I can change to a cinnamon red. Those small accents can change the entire dynamic of a room.


GP & J Baker Waterford Damask

Now normally my home is very neutral.  When I was choosing paint colors, Tim would ask me which shade of off-white I was going to use. Neutrals and white make me feel relaxed. But now that Fall is here, I am adding accents of this glowing orange, and it makes me feel warm inside when it's raining and 40 degrees.



I made the Autumn sign in the back from a piece of French silk, If you would like something similar, just send me a comment, or go on TheLilyHome.com and send me a message. 




Have you ever read Frederick by Leo Lionni? I think I am like Frederick. He's a mouse who collects colors and stores them for the winter.  I am storing up hot orange for the winter.
"I gather sun rays for the cold dark winter days," says Frederick.

Hold on to this, and revisit it in February. 



Tuesday, November 4, 2014

 LONG ISLAND'S COUNTRY FORKS


Long Island is known for many things including some of the most beautiful beaches, Gold Coast mansions, and of course its proximity to New York City. But probably my favorite part, having lived here for many years, is the rural "North Fork," which is known for its potato farms, wineries, horses and farm stands.



When Katherine and I went pumpkin picking, we visited The Garden of Eve.  It's almost like the gardening Gods made mums to match the Fall colors. 



One of my fall favorites is Montauk Daisies. They are like the country cousin of mums... a little more free flowing and less tailored, and always white with a yellow center. On the South Fork, the hamlet of Montauk is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean. It has a kind of free spirited ruggedness about it. There, you can find Montauk Daisies growing loosely in huge informal bunches along old gray split rail fences.

 photo courtesy of MB Jarrosak
Montauk Daisies in Montauk, NY, on the Atlantic Ocean.

If you come and visit, look me up :)


Happy Birthday Katherine and Jonathan. I can't believe you are 18. Where did it go? I hope you both travel far and wide, but are never too far away. Dream as big as you possibly can, and then make all your dreams come true, as you did mine.
Love, mom

Monday, October 20, 2014

A COUNTRY AUTUMN


Fall's morning light on my antique Swedish Gustavian table. 

Light is the form of energy that makes it possible to see things...


Homespun and white pumpkins. A beautiful country Autumn
And perhaps, to feel things, too.


Wishing you and yours the warmth of Autumn Light
--from Sharon and The Lily Home

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Saturday, October 11, 2014

MY PUMPKINS



Pumpkin picking has been a tradition in our little family ever since my pumpkins were old enough to walk. My pumpkins were two round headed babies who were born just after Halloween. When they were too little to protest, I would dress them up in Halloween pumpkins suits to go Trick or Treating. One Rolly Polly nick name lead to another and ever since they have been "my pumpkins." My daughter is still "my Pumpkin Princess."



We have never missed a year of pumpkin picking, and this year, as they approach 18 years old, my daughter and I spent a wonderful day finding the roundest, most perfect pumpkin and holding hands in a farm field. I didn't ask my son... I thought he was too "cool." Later he wanted to know why he wasn't invited. I know he was kidding. Sort of.

Half way through our farm-filled day, I realized this time next year my Pumpkin Princess will be at some far away college and won't be here to Pumpkin Pick. While I am so happy for her, deep down I am sad.



 I am so excited for them to dive head first into whatever excites them, and do what they love, not what they "should" do. But, I also might just secretly be dreading the day when both my Pumpkins walk out of our door and on to newer things.

And so, to comfort myself  and keep from being too lonely when they are gone, I did what some said I shouldn't do, and got myself a new little "Pumpkin."


I think sometimes as women and moms, we get used to playing it safe and doing what we are "supposed to" do. I am looking at this next part of my life as a chance to do all that I want so I can look back someday and say, "no regrets." So, here's to quiting your job, learning to ride, opening your own business, being strapped for cash and just as you have your freedom, getting a puppy. Please welcome Ella to our family.



To Lisa, my dear friend. Together we have been through  "supposed to's,"  risky leaps, and "way off the beaten paths."  You are the  Mai Tai to my Ella. May we always travel through life's "are you crazy??" moments together.


Monday, September 22, 2014

BROCANTE FINDS


I am decorating for Fall, and making the most of the Autumn Harvest Fairs and antique bazaars. Here are a few of the things I have found.

 An American transferware creamer, I think from the late 1800s. I love the details of the flowers and the bright blue on white. This would be so perfect as a vase with just a few buds in it.

 I am not sure if this was a sap bucket or had some other use, but it has the greatest patina. Take a look at it with dried hydrangeas. Hydrangea dry so beautifully. Just forget to add water, which is how I usually do it. 

 A great French flea market find. Perfect for jewelry or to hold my little papers. Au Fidele Berger is a a chocolate house in France. 

 I imagine this was filled with Macaroons or bonbons. C'est delicieux!

This bench was a perfect flea market find from years past. It had some very  heavy, shiny paint on it, so I stripped it down but left the last layer, which created a perfect patina. Then I covered it in the back of an antique German grain sack. Voila! A beautiful Swedish Gustavian or antique French look, from an American bench and a German sack. How multi-cultural.


This vintage German grain sack was made for the 1962 World's Fair in Seattle, Washington. It is now in my shop in New York. It really travelled the globe. Since it was never actually used, it is in pristine condition. It has a super rare royal blue and white stripe, with the snowflake motif on top. I mounted it on a stretcher so it can be hung as a piece of art on the wall.

I am headed outside to enjoy the cool, dry weather, and "shoot some loot" from some more of my flea market finds. And I will start decorating with Autumn colors today. I can't wait to show you.
Enjoy your beautiful day.
Sharon

Friday, August 29, 2014

FARMERS' MARKET ON LONG ISLAND


 Last weekend I decided on a little "me time." Sometimes I like a little time not to hear any voices telling me they need me to do something. Every time I see the sign that says "Farmers Market this weekend" I feel a twinge of nostalgia for all the farms and farmstands where I used to live on Long Island's North Fork. So I decided to treat myself to a little "me time" and a trip to the outdoor market.




I also treated myself to some cherry preserves. Yum! All the vendors are local farmers. That's good... it means I can get more when I finish this.



Okay now I just feel like I am in Provence, or Paris. I am all in! Bon Appetite.



I just finished reading Julia Child's My Life in France. I love that woman for so many reasons. I love that she loved France and the French people, and I love her Joie de Vivre, and mostly I love her perserverance. I have been trying to put myself and my business out there for the world to see. Sometimes that means getting hit in the face with rejection. Julia never let that keep her down for long. She's such a great inspiration.



I set up a pretty desk in my living room. This fresh bouquet of zinnias is going to add the perfect feminine touch. Armed with my cup of coffee I am going to get right back to work! That's what Julia would have done.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014


FRESH FLOWERS IN MY FRENCH FLOWER POTS



I found this pair of antique iron flower pots a long time ago. I just love the French Rococo design on the front. I brought them to a show, but they didn't sell. Yippee! 



The summer flowers on my deck needed a little help. I love gardening in beds, but my pots always seem to dry out too quickly. So, I went with Barb's great idea and found some succulents and arid loving plants for my pots. 












Dusty miller is such a fabulous beachy blue gray. I have to find that exact color and paint a wall with it soon. Just look at how the Rosemary and the purple flowers work so well with the blue gray. Can't you just see this sitting on a beach front deck? I feel like I am at the ocean beach just standing in the summer sand.




These white washed French Provincial style planters have just the right amount of rust... I mean "patina."




I brought a few blooms indoors to enjoy. And when my hydrangea dry out, they still look just as colorful.





I hope you have some time today to smell the flowers
--Sharon

Happy Birthday, Barb!!!