Month: June 2010

Two Kitchen Tables

“Tabletops are the daily canvases upon which we sketch,” writer/illustrator Leanne Shapton mused recently in her T Magazine blog column, We Three Things. She says: “A glance at someone’s coffee table, kitchen island or even computer desktop offers a revealing self-portrait: bookworm, neat freak, train wreck, mom.”
It made me stop and look at my own tables. We now have two kitchen tables in our oversized dining room. (One table didn’t seem to fill the disproportionate middle space.) I have no idea what all this clutter says about me, other than I’m, well, a clutterer.

So here are some iPhone snapshots of this little hub of our flat:

dining room
Decor books, magazines, a Farrow & Ball paint brochure…
dining room
A collection of my daughter’s scissors (a new one bought every year for school); an old Chinese bakelite box for holding rubber bands and paperclips…
Dining Room
And painted bug pins in a bowl…
dining room
After I read Shapton’s post, it reminded me that I had saved an old Elle magazine profile of her in one of my inspiration files. The story prompted me to buy her book, Was She Pretty?
Dining Room
Shapton blogs that her own tabletops “tell short stories of collection and compulsion.” She adds: “What gets randomly, or precisely, set down can be read like tea leaves; our surfaces are anything but shallow.”

So, what’s on your tabletop? If you’ll email me a photo (send to englishmuse at yahoo dot com), I’ll post it here next week!


Color and Dust

Hello everyone, the new Anthropologie catalogue arrived
in my mailbox today….
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I love these colorful linens and black chalkboard walls
(especially the drawn chandelier)…
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And these wild wingchairs…
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So now I’m daydreaming again about reupholstering my chairs

The Virtues of Daydreaming

There’s a story in today’s New York Times’ science section that touts the creative benefits of daydreaming…

“At long last, the doodling daydreamer is getting some respect,”
writes John Tierney in the NYT.

Researchers have found that daydreaming is “remarkably common — and often quite useful. A wandering mind can protect you from immediate perils and keep you on course toward long-term goals. Sometimes daydreaming is counterproductive, but sometimes it fosters creativity and helps you solve problems.”

Psychologists also found that people’s minds seem to wander 30 percent of the time during waking hours.

As I was writing this post my mind was wandering too, wondering what new photos were up on Daydream Lily, a blog that turns the concept of daydreaming into a beautiful virtual reality.

Dare I ask: How much do you daydream and usually what about?

(Photos above by l(a jane)

The Chanel Inspiration Collage

Karl Lagerfeld shot these photos for Chanel’s Spring/Summer 2010 catalogue and then used them to create a fantastic online collage.
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The photos were taken in ARGENTINA
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With racks of frothy dresses…
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On a checkerboard stage:
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Tulle and sequins…
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With touches of green…
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And black boleros …
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I so love Chanel…

Blue Clouds

Everywhere you turn these days in and around Los Angeles, there are Jacaranda trees covered with purple-blue flowers…


The plumes, balanced on poetically gnarled trunks, look like blue clouds in the late afternoon light….


Lovely blooms — always as many on the tress as on the ground — mark the city’s colorful transition from spring to summer…


In honor of the Summer Solstice this week, I took these pictures of the two old Jacaranda trees shading the lawn in front of our flat.

Hope you’re having a lovely week so far.

My friend Elaine is returning to LA from Paris tomorrow. I’m picking her up from LAX in the afternoon. Can’t wait!

UPDATE: My orange shoes are on sale here!

Hot Milk Cake

The cake was a hit at our dinner yesterday! I wanted to share the recipe with you. It belonged to my grandmother on my dad’s side.


4 eggs
2 cups sugar
1 cup milk
1 stick butter
Pinch of salt
2 cups flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla

Beat eggs well, then add sugar a little at a time. Heat milk and butter until butter is dissolved. Cool, then add to egg/sugar mixture alternately with flour. Mix well. Add salt and vanilla. Mix. Then add baking powder slowly until blended.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes in two 9-inch cake pans (greased & floured.)


1/2 cup butter
1 pound confectioners sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

add milk one tablespoon at a time to preferred consistency.

Then eat for breakfast, lunch, dinner and midnight snack…:)

(Props to Bella for taking the picture)

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