Archive for the ‘visits’ Category

the dyker lights

Monday, December 13th, 2010

This weekend, we took our second annual holiday light stroll through Dyker Heights, the Italian-American birthplace of no less than Chachi, aka Scott Baio. It’s in Brooklyn near the Verrazano Bridge. We’re talking inspired, over the top crazy insane displays.

Towering toy soldiers. Spinning ferris wheels and carousels. Nodding reindeer. A jovial Santa-clad homeowner on a throne at the end of a long cue of wide-eyed children and camera-laden parents. Every 6-year-old’s dream!

Wish my pictures could capture the glory and the spectacle. Unfortunately a lot of them just didn’t turn out. Maybe it’s just one of those things you have to see in person to believe…

dyker 1

dyker 2

dyker 3

dyker 5

dyker 6

dyker 7

dyker 8

dyker 9

dyker 10

dyker 12

dyker 11

dyker 13

dyker 4

Where and when: [with thanks to the Dyker Lights Visitor’s Guide]

  • 11th Avenue to 13th Avenue and from 83rd to 86th Street
  • D/M trains to 18th Ave; R train to 86th Street
  • For best viewing visit in mid-December
  • Weekends tend to be better than weeknights
  • Visit between 7-9 pm for the most intense lighting
Want more?
A little history of the Dyker Lights.
A guided bus tour that ends in cannoli and cappucino.
And last but not least, there’s a PBS documentary called Dyker Lights shot in 2001. Can’t find that for view anywhere, although it airs on NYC PBS this year. Fuhgeddaboutit.

fall at denver botanic

Monday, October 25th, 2010

In Denver last week, our very first stop (after our favorite noshery) was Denver Botanic.  This is high country, so you see a lot of drought-tolerant ornamental grasses, native plants and conifers here. I get great compositional ideas from DenBot.

As luck would have it, this time Henry Moore’s sculptures were on display. Take a look…

moore sculpture near the entrance


ponderosa border at entry


water feature with pennisetums


pedestals and perennials


fall blooming crocus: colchicum ‘waterlily’


moore sculpture


roses and juniper


buddleia alternifolia ‘fountain butterfly bush’ and nessela tenuissima ‘mexican feather grass’




moore sculpture in the herb garden


scripture garden


viburnum carlesii ‘korean spice viburnum’


virburnum carlesii ‘korean spice viburnum’


moore sculpture


path to the asian garden



river stone detail


hakonechloa macra ‘japanese forest grass’


moore sculpture


closeup of a bloom


the fading towering stalk of agave ‘henry’s parryi’


eryngium still in bloom in the rock garden


pond’s edge... lysimachia nummularia ‘aurea’ (gold creeping jenny) with conifers




giant 3' waterlilies


ornamental grasses... nassella tenuissima ‘mex feather grass’, schizachyrium scoparium ‘little bluestem’), miscanthus


ephedra ‘bluestem joint fir’, mexican feather grass, yucca, pine


japanese garden


conifers in the japanese garden


ponderosa pine


meadow with sculpture in the plains garden


bix at water garden


turtle sunning on rock


glaucium corniculatum ‘red horned poppy’ and yucca


wildflower rockery with sculpture




caesalpinia giliesii ‘bird of paradise’ shrub


reclining figure on the water garden

other people’s gardens followup

Thursday, June 10th, 2010

Just thought I’d share. Remember that awesome garden in North Stonington, CT, where we spent the day a few weeks back? This one…

daffodils at blue flag farm

Turns out it’s Blue Flag Farm, which specializes in raising daylilies — 600 varieties! That explains this shot…

daylilies in waiting

Imagine how crazy colorful it is with all those daylilies in bloom…

daylilies in bloom | shot from

daylilies in bloom | shot from

other people’s gardens

Monday, May 3rd, 2010
Visit to the garden of a friend of the family. A perfect day in a lovely sunny spot in the woods of North Stonington, CT, right on a creek.
Shall we?
bix ’n tulips ’n lawn
more tulips
purple and white wisteria
weathered shed
blues and purples
up thru the apple tree
concrete lion
chien bizarre
mossy bench
shade plants
anemone canadensis
sculpture in the woods
stone passage
bees beginning to swarm
the daylily garden
bronze sculpture with daffodils
art and barn
weathervane on the sheep barn
daylily tables
old sheep grazing field
vine and birdbath
ape sculpture
orchids in the greenhouse
lilac and lawn
sculpture ’n daffodils
forest bench
bamboo closeup
sign on the bridge

back in the sacks

Tuesday, April 27th, 2010

I was looking through my snaps from Ann Sacks and thought maybe my fellow tile lovers might like to see some more —  they don’t work in our entryway but deserved to be ogled.

Like linen tiles. That actually feel like woven fabric…

fab linen tile

I’ll just shut up and show you the rest…

angela adams

crazy hexagons

river stones


horizontal bands

dimensional circles

pixie sticks

raised elliptical

striated glass

porcelain dots


Glad I got that out of my system! Just a taste of tile to come, I’m sure. I’ll get more serious about exploring our options when we start looking beyond the entryway.

apiary field trip

Monday, April 26th, 2010

David and Coryndon’s bee class made a bee-line (sorry, I had to) out to Smithfield, RI for a visit to Beehavin’ Apiary this past weekend. I’ll let David tell you all about it…

bees in the package

My bee class was invited to watch a demonstration on how to transfer a package of bees into a hive at a local apiary. The package above was developed in the early 20th century as a way to distribute bees by mail. Bees can only live a couple of days without food or water and in the days before the interstate highway system, U.S. mail was the best way to get bees quickly to their new homes.

moving the queen’s box

The queen is in a small wooden box inside a metal can in the lid of the package, she needs to be protected from the other bees for the first several days, until they get to know each other.

The lid and can are removed and the lid temporarily replaced over the opening.

The queen’s box is placed in the center of the new hive, it has a sugar candy plug in the end which the bees will eat through, at first they want to get at her to kill her but over the course of eating their way in to her, they will become accustomed to her smell and by the time they free her it’s one big happy family in the hive.

moving the bees into the hive

Once the queen’s box is in place, the bees in the package are dumped gently into the hive. They recognize it immediately as a great place to start a home and move right in.

sugar water for dinner

The hive will need to be fed a 1:1 mixture of sugar and water (in the glass jar) until nectar is flowing in the flowers surrounding the hive. The hive shown here is called a nuc (short for nucleus) and only has five frames in it, it’s a kind of temporary hive.

Some bees wil be reluctant to leave the package so it’s left open near the hive entrance for a day or so. In two days it will be time to check that the queen has been released, if not she’ll need to be freed by hand. And then she will lay eggs — up to 1,500 per day!

spring at brooklyn botanic

Friday, April 23rd, 2010

PVD-NYC-LAS. What a crazy week! Looking back on it I must say the absolute best part of it all was a trip to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. It’s a must whenever we’re in town. Last weekend was the height of the cherry blossoms. Springtime in New York never looked more incredible… (as always, click to biggify)

cherry blossom alley

Hanami is April 3 through May 2 and “celebrates the Japanese cultural tradition of enjoying each moment of the cherry blossom season.” It’s truly magical…

a ceiling of cherry blossoms

white cherries

Wish we were there this weekend for Sakura Matsuri, which closes out the month-long festival.  Instead, I’ll be getting dirt under my fingernails here at the homestead. Can’t exactly complain about that.

Also a riot of blossoms: the magnolias. Their perfume is intoxicating…

magnolias in bloom

And the lilacs. A huge field of them — and so many different varieties!

field of lilacs

heavenly scented lilacs

The French cultivars seemed to have the best smell. I think I sniffed my sniffer off…

lilac closeup

Closer to the ground, the grape hyacinths and euphorbias looked amazing. What a great combination of shades…

grape hyacinths and euphorbias

And these little minty looking guys with pink heads. Anybody know what these are? So cute. I need some of these…

looks like mint

The jonquils and epimediums look great together. My epimediums are just starting to pop in Providence…

epimidiums and jonquils

Between the foliage of the Japanese maples and the azaleas just starting and the cherry trees in full bloom, the Japanese garden was bursting with color…

japanese garden

Japanese torii gate

I’ve been researching Japanese maples so I geeked out over this linearlobum (also called threadleaf). Love the bright green against the red bark…

green japanese maple

Currently considering adding a Crimson Queen Japanese maple — it’s a dissectum. Here’s one at BBG viewed through a Weeping Katsura

japanese maple thru the weeping katsura tree

Can’t forget the wisteria. Some of the vines were still bare. Their gnarly structure looks so great all year. I might even love that more than the flowers…

wisteria vine

Some of them were already in bloom, though…

wisteria on display

In May, this place is insane with scent of wisteria. Heady stuff. If you haven’t been to Brooklyn Botanic, go around Mother’s Day. It’s fantastical.

what happens in vegas…

Thursday, April 22nd, 2010

Here in Las Vegas for a video shoot. If it weren’t blindingly gaudy and garish, it wouldn’t be Vegas, right? (Pardon the very uncrisp iPhone pix.)

Flowery mosaic tile floors…

mosaic tile floor

Floor to ceiling crystal chandeliers…

chandeliers at planet hollywood

The crystals closeup… mmmm, twinkly.

chandelier closeup

Massive parasols hanging from the ceiling. I’m sure the stylist called these “whimsical”…

parasols at the Wynn

The disco bathroom — walls covered top to bottom in disco ball-esque mirrors. That was actually pretty cool…

disco wall in the bathroom at Blush

Look up: disco balls!

disco balls

disco wall with reflected disco balls

But in case you’re thinking about getting all Studio 54 while you’re in here, think again…

bathroom signage

More crazy ceiling lights…

crazy lights on the ceiling at Blush

At night, they change color…

lights changing color

In the hotel, a two line phone next to your toilet. With a hold button. “Excuse me a minute while I ugh…”

phone next to the toilet at the Wynn

Outside the casino, quintessential Vegas views… and Manilow.

poolside at the Wynn

Paris on the strip

The Flamingo on the strip


And now, homeward bound. Replete with debauch.

triple lucky 7 slot machine

field trip to henrybuilt soho

Wednesday, April 21st, 2010

Another droolfest in New York City: this time, a visit to HenryBuilt. Stopping by their Soho showroom gave us a chance to imagine custom modern cabinetry in our own space. *sigh*

The quartersawn walnut, solid bamboo, veneer rift-cut oak and quartersawn teak cabinets are all handcrafted in Seattle using primarily FSC-certified woods for sustainability. Lots of lovely details, like minimal stainless steel pulls perfectly mortised into the wood. Here they’ve worked in a Corian countertop but we also saw stainless steel…

henrybuilt kitchen cabinet

Love the subtle shades of the laminate. And there are plenty of options to choose from, as you can see…

wood and laminate samples

Drawers and cabinets can be outfitted as you see fit…

drawer detail

They can even work in a fridge and freezer drawers, ovens, yadayada…

fridge cabinet

I’m particularly enamored with the warmth of the walnut, given that our floor, ceiling and walls will be very light…

walnut kitchen

A very helpful chap talked us through the HenryBuilt process, which is basically that they’ll work with you and your architect (if you have one) to make sure everything suits your plans and footprint, and take advantage of the space you have. Because our tiny kitchen space is essentially in our living space, it’s important that all the cabinetry tie together seamlessly and be multifunctional — this is the kind of thing they take into account.

It was nice to see their Viola Park line represented. It’s a bit more affordable than the HenryBuilt pieces as these are “off the shelf” components you configure yourself as opposed to having them customized. Laminate below but they offer wood options as well…

viola park

The Paperstone countertop just begs to be touched. Very tactile…

sink and counter

They’ve extended their line into other areas of the home now. This teak wardrobe features leather pulls and lots of little storage nooks…

wardrobe cabinet

The craftsmanship is pretty impeccable…

detail on hooks

The interior was fitted with industrial felt pockets and shoe shelves. Who wouldn’t love that?

interior cabinet

Also drooled over an oak entry piece with storage below…

entry bench

… and storage cabinets up above. I love how they cut in openings below the doors instead of on the doors to keep the look super minimal…

door cutouts

To die for. Our friends Laura and Ben commissioned a HenryBuilt kitchen just a few years ago — so jealous. Maybe Laura will let me drop by and see how it’s holding up. Laura? Whaddya say?

visit to ann sacks

Monday, April 19th, 2010

Happened to be in New York City and made a special trip to the Ann Sacks showroom on East 18th today. Soooooo glad we went. Tile in person is so different from tile online — as you might imagine.

ann sacks nyc

It’s hard not to get distracted by the possibilities for the kitchen or bath…

too much to look at!

But we focused on looking at using concrete tile in our entryways, which was our mission in coming here in the first place. Some beautiful choices in concrete, mostly patterned…

concrete tiles

The Andy Fleishman Neo Terrazzo was particularly beautiful with a lovely matte finish…

concrete terrazzo

Up close, you can really make out the mother of pearl and stone pieces — the aggregate comes from the North Carolina coast…

concrete terrazzo closeup

The Paccha tiles made in Morocco (by Popham Design) are amazing, especially to the touch. They have a very handmade, artisan look to them, which makes sense since they are, duh. But the… hmm, what word to use? if we were talking about fabric I’d say the hand of the tiles is very warm and matte to the touch. Really beautiful with a lot of depth…

rings closeup

We saved our favorite for last: the Angela Adams Argyle concrete tiles (sorry, the lighting in this part of the showroom, not so good)…

angela adams argyle concrete

They’re huge! 16″x16″. Way bigger than I imagined. Available in nine colors by Angela Adams or, get this, customizable in any Benjamin Moore paint color. Nice. The color goes all the way through the tile…

angela adams argyle closeup

so even with wear and tear, just sand them down, refinish the top and you’re good to go. Made in America. $23 a sq ft. Good thing we don’t need much.

No final decision yet, but I think we’ll go home, look at our BenMo color chips and maybe order a sample. Before any decisions are made I want to see some Fritz terrazzo tile firsthand. Stay tuned! Like you care, ha.