Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Summer Style with Rosemary and Thyme

The Pleasure of Herbs

I certainly don't pronounce the "h" in only sounds correct and charming with a sophisticated English accent (like my darling pal Suz:)  Martha Stewart sounds ridiculously proper when she does it and gosh, the beauty of  rosemary, mint, tarragon, chives, sorrel and the like is that they are so unencumbered by pretension.   I always love that with herbs,  natural  is enough....

When the end of August and September arrive, it's fun to enjoy the its and bits remaining in the garden for sweet little herbal arrangements. Herbs make such aromatic additions with or without floral company.  If you missed your chance to plant herbs or don't know how, here's a link to a primer for those with the blackest you will be ready for next season.

a mortar and pestle
filled with herbs makes a stunning display

Galvanized pots and aluminum cans
are just right for a hot summer welcome

Beautiful additions to olive oils....
bring right to the table with a crusty baguette.

chop and add to the best butter
for a crowd-pleaser

bring a posie of herbs as a hostess gift

just a titch of natural beauty

a picnic table with charismatic herbs thrown in

just a glumph of rosemary in a mason jar is enough

irresistible placecards set the tone

a spontaneous centerpiece

Didn't grow any this year? Head to your market ....they always carry fresh now and it's usually less expensive than buying floral.  Add them to your table and meal with exuberance....  no-fuss and a no-miss!

More to come,

Annie and the Blue Box Team

{all images via pinterest}

Monday, August 13, 2012

Bookstore Bound

The demise of the bookstore is seemingly inevitable...what with Ipads, Kindles, Nooks everywhere.  I confess to using gadgets to read most of my books.  However, I do need and support my bookstore for a couple key items:  hardcover design books and a great selection of international design magazines.  I urge you to visit your local Barnes and Noble- still hosting a collection of mags that are my biggest vice....beware!  they do cost more...but if you really want to expand your design horizons, take a peak at some fun eye-candy of design...there is so much out there beyond AD and House Beautiful. 

Clients and friends sometimes ask where I get my inspiration.  Nature, life, and mostly from other designers......My head feels like a great big pinboard but I never ever tire of looking at more and more and more design.  Yup, that's my head up there in that picture...{minus the guy without the shirt, of course....}

I thought I'd encourage you to get back to work pulling images you like from mags.  Pinterest is a fab tool but I make more progress the old-fashioned way..... going back to the best magazines over and over....saving, tearing pictures out of, filing them, pinning them up....we have stacks and stacks in our office, I have mounds near my bed....nothing can replace my magazines for sparking ideas..

Here are some you might not have picked up recently:

  The World of Interiors...sometimes it gets a little obscure, but love the quality when it's not trying too hard to be edgy....

I need that doggie bed for our new dog, Biscuit!

What is this?  Just beautiful...

wabi-sabi with a french twist

Vogue Living Australia- just super fun and amazing to see so much talent downunder....even when they are not covering Aussies, this mag inspires.

john derian does his thing

Hamish Bowles stylishly unconcerned

British Homes and Gardens.... solid classic, kinda boring at times, but love the consistency and the gardens.

Elle Decoration - I always flip through this first to make sure I want to spend the $$$...sometimes it's too laid back and loft industrial...other times it's delish...

Art and Decoration- can be wildly inconsistent and cliched french but there are tons of images and sometimes they get it just right

Veranda - homegrown......getting better and less staid. 

Martha Stewart Weddings - I know we are all old married biddies now, but this mag has better tips than her regular one, and the party shots always give me great entertaining ideas.

yum...this works for me...

sweet and lots of ways to reinterpret this concept

So trek over to that relic of the past, your humble bookstore, and treat yourself to a design snack - a big load of fresh ideas to get your brain looking like a smashing, house beautiful pinboard.

Let me know what you find!

More to come,
Annie and the Blue Box Team

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

My favorite color - Periwinkle

{blue with a lilac undertone}

Periwinkle always makes a beeline for my eye whether I'm at the nursery or design center or shopping for clothes.  Few colors make me as happy as this delish hue and I even like the saying the word "periwinkle".  Yes, it can be a bit sappy sweet, but just a spot of it here and there is a perfect pick-me-up.
In looking for some dynamite pictures for you all, I discovered I have lots of company in loving periwinkle.  Pinterest boards abound with this title....and I pulled most of these images from there

{ Are you following us on pinterest? or pinning for yourselves?  what a great tool for organizing your creative thoughts...  }

Here are a few views of my favorite color.... 

beautiful Raynaud french limoges

lots of both of these in my garden....scabiosa and delphinium

chic interior....periwinkle settee 

periwinkle cabana ...okay, maybe this is blue....but fun to look at anyway...
{image via fleaingfrance}

luscious blue Charlotte Moss bedroom

my favorite stationery comes in a beautiful light blue I like to think is almost periwinkle....

wish I could dash around in this fab periwinkle dress....minus the pink hair....!

the accent color of the south of France

{ image via sjarmerend-gjenbruk}

please yes bring these cupcakes to our next luncheon!

As I mentioned in previous posts, while I use color with a very light touch in my home, Josie likes a bigger dose, and I think Brooke is in-between us.  Even loving color as wildly as she does, Josie tempers it beautifully with lots of white details to keep the color fresh. I recommend a careful approach to color- a little goes a long way and you'll never tire of it if you use it judiciously. 
Well, except for sage green which, those of you who know us, is taboo in our decorating world. 
 Do you still have some of this color in your house??  Call "1-800-NO SAGE GREEN" and have it removed PRONTO!

More to come,

Annie and Team Blue Box

p.s.  all our friends and clients who do have sage green and adore it, you know we love you oodles anyway!!!

{all images via pinterest unless noted}

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

The August Countdown

I must admit I'm a little petrified at this time of year.  The days are already getting shorter, my kids haven't even started all the mind-expanding projects I had planned for them, my to-do list seems longer even though I have been working like a sheepdog and the now, the bombshell drops...It's August. 

We must all enjoy summer
                                                    Now ....

Aren't we supposed to be settling into our summer apathy?

 I'm looking for a few good pics to inspire us all to sit back and RELAX before these wonderful days are a lovely memory.....

the simplest table setting ever....perfect

cucumber and lime water

fun table idea- could fill with drinks, herbs and flowers, fruit, breadsticks and cutlery.....

a divine summer meal- casual and delicious...
I always bring the breadboard straight to the table....

So don't panic like I am.....let's all skip vacuuming the house, call friends and family, grab some goodies at the farmer's market, put some fresh flowers in the powder room, and fire up the grill....
Keep it easy and no fuss and everyone will relax....Me too!  After all,

my gawd!!!
we only have five minutes left of summer!!!!!!!

More to Come,
Annie and Team Blue Box

{all images via pinterest}