Thursday, January 31, 2008

Little Girl With Tap Shoes

Yesterday evening I received proofs of an oil painting that my dear friend Marion Wood has been working on for three years. This masterpiece is so special to me because my daughters posed for this in our first home in front of our piano with Princes Inga, my late father in law's kitty cat.

If you have ever taken an art history class, there are four crucial things you must know: artist, period, title, and date. If you are a true historian of art; however, you know who, what, when, where, and why. I imagine this painting in an art history book a hundred years from now or more realistically hanging above the fireplace in my great-grandaughter or grandson's home. What story about this moment in 2005 will my descendants tell to their friends, children, and hopefully grand-children? Will it be referred to as Jillian & Elise, or will the names be lost and will they call it, Little Girl Playing Piano for Sister in Tap Shoes?

On the late summer day in 2005 when this moment was captured, I was in the height of being a d-list celebrity. Hours before I had attended a fund raiser for Clothes off our Back with W Magazine. Like an absolute fool I hugged the editor of W out of nervousness and made a boob out of myself...I will blog about that later. I had even shared a cocktail with Tommy Lee. (That is for you groovy girl) I flew in to Houston and went straight to the floral market to pick up day lilies per the request of Marion, because they represent rebirth. I don't quite remember dinner, but I do know Marion stayed the night with us and she studied the angle of our great room for hours. At about 7am she popped out of bed and said something like, "by golly, I got it", and she started sketching like a mad woman. Jillian and Elise posed for a couple of hours. At first it was exciting for them, and after about 10 minutes they had had enough... much like our 2005 Christmas Card... Iwill post later.

The tap shoes on Elise; however, will always be a mystery. Did I brain-lapse, did I intentionally put the tap shoe on Elise because that is all we could find, or did Elise put them on herself? At any rate or as I quote Kurt Vonnegut, "so it goes", the tap shoe makes history and this moment in time was immortalized.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Bean's Room

I was visiting a popular blog today and I ran in to one of my close friends from college. She entered her gender neutral nursery in a design competition. I think you can still vote for her. I hope she wins, and her prize is something really great like a house in Tuscany for a month and she invites us. She and I, along with her husband, were art majors. He is now a highly coveted graphic designer. Back in the day, he did all of my graphics and website. I will blog about that later. Until then, enjoy. It reminds me of the large-scale floral interpretation that Painted Groove blogged about recently.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

If I Had a Coke Machine, I Would Stock It With IZZE

Bob has a coke machine and for the last 25 years you can buy a wide variety of soda pops for $.35. My favorite has always been his "Orange Coke" selection.

Yesterday I stopped by the market to get some refreshments for an afternoon presentation, and picked up some IZZE Clementine Sodas because they look great with my architectural finishes. I purchased some IZZE's several months ago, and they were the darling of my presentation. They were so super yummy that for the next few months I overindulged in any brand of fizzy orange drinks; not realizing that there was a BIG DIFFERENCE.

This morning as I was working on my computer, I realized I had a left-over-IZZE from yesterday; so,I decided to break my healthy life-style diet or did I? READ THIS.... as I look at my nicely designed IZZE bottle thinking, "I should blog something like.... looks great, and tastes great too"; I realized that IZZE is not just fizzy corn syrup like other orange sodas. IZZE is naturally sweet; 70% fruit juice and 30% sparkling water, no refined sugar, no caffeine, no artificial anything. I feel like I have won the lottery! If I had only known this last summer, I am sure I would be back in my jeans by now. There are a plethora of flavors available: LIMON, BLACK RASBERRY, and even POMEGRANATE. IZZE SODA POPS are available in cans too.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Saving Pool at a time

I live in Suburbia. Have I mentioned that? For the last decade I have seen the same tropical oasis swimming pool in hundreds of yards. You know what I am talking about... a Lima bean shaped swimming pool flanked by large authentic or fake rocks; accompanied with tropical trees and waterfalls.
There are big ones, medium-ones, and itsy bitsy teenie ones. While they can be architecturally stimulating if your house is designed with a Caribbean aesthetic, they can also create disconnect with traditional or more modern architecture; hence, an all- together different type of design block.
My mission today is to offer some alternative design ideas for those of you that will embark on a pool design in future. Before your pool designer / contractor comes over with his bag of tricks to entice you, be mindful of the style of your home. It is easy it is to get seduced by these themeparkish pools; but remember, we have to be able to look ourselves in the mirror the next morning.

hasta luego

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Sayonara Scrap-Booooookers

october 2007
By abbey branch

chronicles of a mo...
By abbey branch
If you are like me and have an overwhelming amount of photos in boxes and on your computer and you don't have time for scrap-booking, check out You can create custom books that will look beautiful on your library shelves or coffee tables. The "sky is the limit"... cookbooks, photo books, or portfolios of your work.....
They also make great gifts!

Monday, January 14, 2008


Don't try to breast feed your baby in this classic Hardoy Chair aka the Butterfly Chair. That is all I have to say about that.... (in a Forest Gump Accent)

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Peace In The Middle East

2008 would have marked the 10th anniversary of our "Peace in the Middle East" New Years Dinner. This year; however, my husband thought he had a better ticket and forfeited our traditional sit down on the floor dinner for another shin-dig. Only because I am still large and post-partum, I gave him a pass.

I had this bright idea last Thursday, that rather than waiting for a full year, we would invite some of our favorite neighbors for an impromptu Peace dinner. I called our local Indian chef to prepare our meal and we had an incredible evening. The food was perfect and the conversation was everything but prim, proper, and neighborly. It was divine! For the first time in the history of "Peace", we treated our guests to chairs; we knew the time would come... Today, my wine cellar (the bottom of my pantry) is 10 bottles of wine & 2 bottles champagne leaner. I on the other hand, am quite the opposite.

super houston interior designer karen B. & henry

a little food; a litte fancy

you can't call it a party without at least 2 gay friends (the one on the right is an incredible architect )

2 former new orlean's girls who now shake up houston with botox injections & their philanthropic activities

Thank you friends for joining us for Peace. Here is to Peace in 2008!

Friday, January 11, 2008

A Shout Out To The 1960's Ranch

There is a Suburb called Carperter Addition. All of the houses are ranches; somewhat like Utopia.
Many of these houses have been "21st-century-tweaked". They look nice; however, I worry about these houses; do they miss the good ole days too? Do they long to be liberated? How do they feel when their once "wall of glass" is replaced by French Doors. I fantasize about riding my bike down June Street shouting.. "It will be okay, our children will restore you." ( You know super 60's chic houses will be all the rage in 20 years.) Until then, here is a thought. If you aren't ready for a 60's revival because you may have already lived it and you are itching to tweak your already existing ranch style casa:

You can do this

Come on in!


Tuesday, January 8, 2008

The "Judification" of Marfa

Here is a little background on myself... pre-has-been-celebrity-designer. I grew up in west Texas and actually was an acquaintance of a hero in the art world Donald Judd. He was kind of like the artsy version of Bob. When he and I both lived in the Marfa area, we were the weirdos; he, much more of a weirdo than I. He established the Chinati Foundation. Don passed away 13 years ago content with being misunderstood by his a small town all the while being one of most revered artists of the 2oth century. FYI, he knew he was revered.
Fast-forward to 2008, Marfa has been invaded by artists, wannabees, and has-beens (like myself). It is absolutly charming and it delights me to no end. There are art galleries on every corner, a super chick Book Store, even the former "batesesque" MOTEL THUNDERBIRD has been plucked and tweezed and deserves a post of its own. I feel like the bumblebee in the Blind Melon video when I visit. It is almost as nice as Utopia.
At any rate, before I close I ask, "What would Donald Judd do (WWJD) if he drove into Marfa, Texas today and saw the metamorphosis of his small cow-town to a Mecca for the artsy-fartsy?"

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Nacho Grandma's Linoleum

As my one reader knows, I am a little partial to Dutch Design; however, even if I hated the __ __ Dutch, the new Marmoleum Dutch Design Collection would knock my uninspired knickers off. Marmoleum was environmentally friendly when green wasn't cool. It is made with 100% natural ingredients, it lasts a life time, and it kills the super bug. Researchers proved it.
At any rate, as I close, it makes me think of Bob's house, the more I realize that we need to bring it back to its glory days. The Marmoleum Dutch Design collection would be the perfect flooring solution for such a chic redo.

How Modern Is My Modern Kitchen?

Bob is "thinking about" embarking on a new kitchen design for the home I grew up in. I was looking through my design magazines for inspiration (because my creativity has petered out), and I realized how wonderful his kitchen, featuring the Frigidaire Flair, referenced above, is. I will try and post photos of the actual house and kitchen...however; until then, I am sure you will have no problem visualizing it because so many of us grew up in similar 1960's ranch style houses-- one story, brick, 2 car car garage, entry hall, formal living, den, sliding-glass doors leading to the patio.. Back to the dreamy Fridgidaire combinataion double oven and stove... It was featured on Bewitched, and I knew by watching reruns in the 70's that we must have been on to something.

At any rate as I close... how did I go from super-glam-post-modern-roots to this 1920's service style kitchen ?

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Farewell Mentor

Today I learned my dear mentor, Dr. Phoebe Lloyd ,an eccentric "artsy" Grandma figure whom I admired tremendously, passed away in 2005. The first day I met her, she flashed a Mapplethorpe Photo and asked, "Do you know what this is??? After several seconds of silence.... it’s a __ hole.
She was an art historian, a writer, a fabulous cook, and a total rebel. Her lectures were stories of real life in art and I am better for having known her.