house and home



Categories: house and home | 2 Comments »

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So this is my home — crammed with flea-market finds, stacks of books, bitter angry pets, and a husband who wonders when we’re having a yard sale. Welcome to my bohemian, magpie, grannie not-so-chic life!


Categories: Books, house and home, illustrations | 28 Comments »

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Two Kitchen Tables

Jun 30, 2010

“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‚Äôs 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:

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!


Categories: house and home | 14 Comments »

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Hello my dears, my mom on Friday gave me a box of my dad’s old records, a mix of classical music, big band and jazz. We spent the holiday weekend listening to them, drinking wine and reminiscing. The music reminded me again of how capacious my dad’s mind was. There were so many aspects of beauty he enjoyed — music, art, literature. Some of the best conversations I had with him concerned all three. It gave me a deep appreciation of the different cultures of the world, especially those of Europe. Before I even set foot in Italy or Austria or France,
I was already in love.

Listening this weekend to Strauss’ waltz, Vienna Woods, and Respighi’s Fountains of Rome, I was taken back to my New Mexico childhood, when I first realized how big and beautiful the world really was. Music carries us places that words can’t quite describe. It also evokes deep memories. I remember my father playing these records over and over on his old stereo.

As they pop and crackle now on my Crosley turntable, I’ve learned something about my father: With his overtures and waltzes, he had a flair for the dramatic and the romantic. There were no requiems in his collection, just grand happiness. Thinking of that now makes me happy.

I hope you’re having a lovely week. I’m excited to get back to posting here more often!

Categories: house and home | 20 Comments »

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Little dog love

Apr 02, 2010

I know this little dog looks very innocent in this picture, but she’s a fierce beast. How long does it take to housebreak a Pomeranian (never?). And what about the ankle biting?

Any advice would be much appreciated!

Categories: house and home | 24 Comments »

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Our two cats emerged this week from under the couch…
They immediately took up residence on the windowsills. They seem to be recovering from our move. I am too.

There’s only one way to fight these house blues: Decorate. I’m putting most of my rustic pine furniture from the old house on consignment. Tomorrow I’m starting my quest for new things for our new abode!

Categories: house and home | 14 Comments »

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…until the books are on the shelves:

Screen shot 2010-03-21 at 8.46.34 AM
Screen shot 2010-03-21 at 8.46.08 AM
This is my favorite part of unpacking: arranging the shelves. I always start out with the intent to keep things minimal, even monotoned. But I am a magpie at heart. So there’s more color to come!

PS: A few of you asked about the screensaver on my computer in my last post. It’s a Japanese noren called “The Great Wave,” by Hokusai. It came with my Mac, but I’ve now uploaded it onto flickr, if you want to use it as a screensaver too. Just click the picture below:

Screen shot 2010-03-20 at 10.45.22 PM

Hope you’re having a lovely Sunday…

Categories: house and home | 37 Comments »

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Hello everyone! It’s so nice to be back here blogging! I wanted to show you some pictures of our new home….

This is the view from the terrace. We have five huge windows that look out into the garden:

Here’s Lola on the couch. Our angry cats have been hiding underneath it for a week now. Occasionally we hear the couch growl.
Screen shot 2010-03-18 at 5.02.47 PM

Here’s the view from my desk (it’s where I’m now doing this post!)
Screen shot 2010-03-18 at 5.03.53 PM

Here’s a rare sighting of Kali, walking fast past our white brick fireplace…
Screen shot 2010-03-18 at 5.00.30 PM

I have lots of unpacking still to do. Thank you for all your warm wishes and emails. I hope to get caught up by this weekend! xo

Categories: house and home | 33 Comments »

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Office Snapshots

Mar 24, 2009



Here are a few grainy Polaroids of my office, with a look inside my messy large desk drawer. The ballerina papercut is by the talented Tina Tarnoff and the Hollywood gum is from Paris (Thank you Terry!)…

I have a photo of Obama in silhouette (taken at a book signing party he had in LA two years ago). There are stacks of magazines. I can’t seem to part with them. I use an old oil can as a ring rack and an eggcup to hold paperclips. (The colorful brooch was a gift from Tina. I love it!) A cachepot bought in Chinatown holds pens, pencils and plastic scissors. And there’s a red polka dot change purse filled with coins. Centimes and shillings, pesos and liras.

change purse

Categories: house and home | 18 Comments »

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