Tuesday, March 31, 2009

A Lily for Taddie's Birthday

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We were rushing to leave the City for an appointment with a real estate agent. In our preoccupation with our changing lives, neither of us remembered the significance of the day's date.

Tall Husband was the first to see it: one perfect, tall white lily in the garden outside our door. As you know, this plant has a history of yielding one flower a year, and only on the anniversary of the death of Tall Husband's mother, Taddie.

"It's her birthday," I said. Tall Husband quietly helped me select a vase for the lily and as I put the flower in a vase, we thanked Taddie for the reminder and wished her happy birthday. We went about our day with the feeling she was there with us.

Nest Searcher's Syndrome

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An abandoned nest, found in the hedge next to my kitchen door.

Our children have been gone for several years now.  We never felt traumatized, even when the last child left home;  instead we threw off our clothes and ran around the house nude, singing. And when he called home two days later, worried about "the empty nesters," we feigned sadness, so as not to disappoint him.  Why are we called empty nesters?  There are still two of us left here in the nest.

While I'm quite happy to be where I am, Tall Husband is talking of downsizing, simplifying, moving, giving away our stuff.  I've lived through his midlife crises, the search for the perfect sports car.  I never knew what he would arrive home driving and I'm still driving one of his experiments. But this is something new.  I'm not sharing his sense of adventure.  After all, our weekend home and our main home are in the same city...that's how adventurous this egg is.  I'm feeling as I did when we were planning to evacuate just ahead of a hurricane last year...what do I save?

So today, we have an appointment with a real estate agent in another city...no, not a city, rather a small Texas town...me, the Big City woman.  It's not that I have never been adventurous; before I met Tall Husband, I had lived all over the world.  I had made more than twenty long-distance moves, leaving a trail of enough stuff to outfit several families.

Note: I knew writing about this would help!  I just this moment remembered a couple who travelled the world looking for a place to settle, Nick and Carol.  They spent a year, sending back e-mails about their search, when they could find a cyber cafe.  When they returned, they had not decided and were planning another trip.  I lost contact with them but I'm sure mutual friends can put me in touch.  Perhaps those two birds can give us some advice.  They are the only couple I've known who have been afflicted with this yet-unnamed syndrome.  Let's call it nest searcher's syndrome.  I'll go Google that right now!

Monday, March 30, 2009

Spring: the Youthful Season

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Baby Pine cones.

Everywhere you look this time of year, there are examples of nature's youth: tiny eggshells from which baby birds have emerged; new leaf and flower buds are all around; baby squirrels, learning how to jump and chatter; even the air smells new. All this makes you feel young again, as if there are new paths to be taken.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Weekend Tour: Small Foot Prints

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Above is one of Architect Brett Zamore's innovative designs for living small. Another of his homes is on the Rice Design Alliance 2009 Small House Tour. Here: furniture by Design Within Reach.

This weekend, Tall Husband and I will be on the Rice Design Alliance's 2009 house tour, Small Houses. Each house is under 2000 square feet, packing more style per square foot than could be found in an entire city of McMansions. And sadly, Houston is a city of McMansions. Click here for tour information: Rice Design Alliance.

Have a great weekend.

Note added Monday, 3/30/09: See My Ranchburger for posting on Small House Tour.

And Now For Something Completely Different

Barb of The Bunny Bungalow
As seen on Youtube; Video created by Annie.
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Thursday, March 26, 2009

First Love

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I have previously shown you this little castle but did not make it clear that this was the first place with which I fell in love.  When I was just entering my teen years, I lived down the street from this limestone studio, which was built by Elizabet Ney, a nineteenth-century, German-born sculptor. Though Elizabet died long before I discovered her and her studio, her place was lovingly kept as she had left it.  Its keeper was a woman who recognized a young girl's feelings for this special place; a woman whom I chose to believe was really Elizabet, reincarnated so as to watch over things. As I was generously given full access to every nook and cranny of this magical place, along with all of Elizabet's wonderful stories, my girlhood still clings to its walls and that girl still climbs the spiral stairs to the tiny tower room.  As the little castle is now a museum, the adult me can also visit.

But now comes a time in life that brings pressures to choose between two places, each of which holds my things, my history, my stories: The Bunny Bungalow and My Ranchburger.  My heart is at the Bungalow, but my head and reason are at My Ranchburger.  Life choices are never easy and one can remember having made wrong ones.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The French Bunny Hunter

Stone Bunny at The Bunny Bungalow.
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Corey of Tongue in Cheek, an American living in Provence with two beautiful teenagers and French Husband, had recently invited her fellow bloggers to let her know what they liked. She promised to find the items and post photos of them under "Things You Like." This morning I saw that she has found my thing, an antique French rabbit! Click here to see the adorable creature. Corey, Thank you! You have made my day!

Monday, March 23, 2009

William Morris

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William Morris
March 24, 1830-October 3, 1896

Today, as an Arts & Crafts bungalow dweller, I am remembering William Morris, the British writer, designer and artist, for his contributions to the English Arts & Crafts Movement. Morris was also a lover of rabbits, reading Brer Rabbit books with his children and selling the most adorable "Brother Rabbit" wallpaper and textiles.

Brother Rabbit Wallpaper/Fabric, a William Morris Design, is available in other colorways.

William Morris adapted his "Brother Rabbit" wallpaper and fabric design from a 17th Century Italian silk. His firm's designs are still sold today under licenses held by Sanderson and Sons ("Morris & Company" brand) and Liberty of London.

Outside Links: The William Morris Society

A Pot by Any Other Name

Tintin: "Milou, would you venture to guess why she has placed a chamber pot in the middle of the dining table?"

"Oh, my! Tintin, you don't suppose she thinks it's a soup tureen?!"

Antique British Ironstone chamber pot & white hare are from Evans Antiques, Chappell Hill, Texas. The scented Geranium is "Apple."
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White Rabbit: "Mmmm...dinner!"

Saturday, March 21, 2009

From Bunnies to Booze

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There must have been a party here last night! The Bunny Bungalow is on a corner, in a dry section of the Historic Houston Heights, however, it does get wet at times. Seeing an empty Thunderbird bottle makes me giddy. I could not resist the urge to re-purpose findings from our morning litter run around the old picket fence.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Musical Bunnies

I was so inspired by Laeriss of A Heart in Provence that I wanted some musical creatures of my own. I love her "Melodious Birds" but this is, after all, the Bunny Bungalow...so musical bunnies it must be. A little snippet of Bach; a few bars from a prelude composed by Tall Husband and voila!

A sweet little family of musical bunnies.

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This musical composition is dedicated to Lareiss.
Note: Bunnies were made with recycled items from my office: old manila folders for stiffness; sheet music was scanned and the images were printed on the "good" side of used printer paper.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

A Final Glance at Last Weekend

A drive-by shot of Bluebonnets on a rainy morning in Chappell Hill, Texas

Ha, and you thought you had escaped the obligatory look at Texas Bluebonnets!

Trees at Stagecoach Inn, Chappell Hill, Texas

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Tall Husband censored my lurid comments about the birds and the bees and the trees. So you are left to your imagination while viewing the trees, above (think, "Rorschach Test.")

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Flamant at Beadboard Upcountry

Last weekend, Tall Husband and I visited Beadboard UpCountry, the chic Euro-country boutique that's nestled in a beautifully restored bank building in historic Brenham, Texas. The owners, Peter and Maryanne, recently returned from a buying trip to Paris. In addition to wonderful items for the home, they now have limited editions of European design books. Who could resist such beautiful books? Not I! Featured here are a few shots of one of the books: "Flamant Home Interiors: Here and Elsewhere" (hardcover.)  Text by Raoul Buyle and Photography by Bart Van Leuven with English translation by Martin Lambert. (Amazon didn't have this book available when I checked this morning.)

If you aren't familiar with Flamant, it is a fabulous European company that sells lifestyle. One can walk into the Flamant store in Paris and walk out with paint, tableware, fresh flowers, furniture, chocolates...you name it; if it's chic and for the home or garden, Flamant has it. Whether you live in a house in Brussels, a Houston loft or a bastide in the south of France, they've got your style, which they describe as bourgeois-bohemian.

Have a look inside their beautiful book: Click on photos to enlarge. You can get your English copy from Beadboard Upcountry.

Above is our favorite Flamant shop at 8 Place Furstenberg, 8 rue de L'abbaye 75006, Paris.

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Click on photos to enlarge.

Note: Beadboard UpCountry has recently added contemporary designs that blend so well with their antiques and reproduction European style. Also, they are going green with their various clean-burning candles and decorative items made from recycled paper and metal.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Antiques Shopping: Chappell Hill Style

From the tiny Coach House, where Tall Husband and I whiled away a rainy Texas weekend, we could stand on the front porch and see this...

...the welcoming back entrance to a most wonderful antiques shop, Evans Antiques in Chappell Hill, Texas. If there is anything that Tall Husband and I excel at, it's shopping. And we especially love shopping for antiques.

Eileen Evans has made a little antique heaven right in the Texas hill country. As I was shooting, I realized that Eileen's visual formula is to let each doorway frame the large view; then within in that view are precious vignettes.

You just know that this white hare was destined to come live at The Bunny Bungalow!

As you click on photos to enlarge, look at the lighting in each room. Eileen stocks wonderful lighting fixtures and those small bulbs that you won't find elsewhere: they really look like candle flames.

Isn't that child's old red, wooden wagon wonderful?

This is a great hutch, filled with crockery.

Note the great hand-painted floor cloths on all the floors. Also, that American Windsor reproduction chair is beautiful and looks authentic. As you know, if you have antiques, reproduction chairs are best, as antique dining chairs are the most overworked pieces of furniture and don't always pass the years well.

Isn't the "halo" around that primitive angel magic? It's an artifact of the lighting but are you ready for some real magic? See that door to the left, under the old sign that reads, "Fine Lodging"? That's part of the Stagecoach Inn B&B, actually the entire shop is. You can sleep in the Antiques Shop after closing time! You have the entire place to yourself and you can shop all night in your nightgown or your birthday suit if you prefer. Eileen has your credit card number, so you just jot down items you've purchased and take them with you. We're staying there next trip to Chappell Hill. Talk about shop till you drop!

Note: Sunday morning we met the charming couple who had spent the night in the antiques shop. The wife showed us her long list of purchases. She was one happy woman!