Thursday, August 25, 2016

How do the words go?

At home in Bodega Bay in northern California. It is morning

Bodega Bay sofa by Stickley

Last night Pandora was playing “A case of you”. Not Joni Mitchell, but Diana Krall, slow and sultry with a hint of sadness. I left a note on the coffee table and went for a walk along the beach with a half drunk glass of wine and thoughts of you. 

There was a chill in the September air, but the sand was still warm and felt good to my feet. The ocean stretched out and the full moon reflected off the waves. The only sound was the wind and the waves and the music in my head. 

How do the words go? 

“Just before our love got lost you said 
I am as constant as a northern star 
and I said Constantly in the darkness 
Where's that at…?” 

If you want me, I'll be at the beach 
Until the song ends and the moon drops below the waves. 
Then, what am I to think?

Monday, June 27, 2016

Cottage Garden

I wandered lonely as a cloud
   That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
   A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze...

William Wordsworth, The Daffodils

Where is a cottage garden to be found? For certain, Dove Cottage, home to William Wordsworth, one of the Lake Poets of the 19th century.

English Cottage Garden, photo Guido Gerding, wikipedia

Some say that the cottage garden originated in the time of the plagues which entered England in  1337 and took the lives of one third to one half of the population, and continued at intervals until 1665. One can visit the plague pits outside Winchester, England at St. Catherine's Hill to see where victims, too numerous for the consecrated ground of the church, were buried. Villagers, taking advantage of the depopulation of the countryside, left crowded cities and villages for greater peace in the country. Others say that landed estates built cottages for the tenants who tended the farms on the estates. Finally, there are those who say that it was the rich landowner himself seeking escape from the maddening crowds and the confines of city life.

Cottage Garden

English Garden
There is truth in all of this and more, for one can imagine Little Red Riding Hood's grandmother living in the forest far from the village, there tending her garden with its sweet smelling flowers and vegetable that she would sell at market for the little money she needed.

The cottage garden is designed to appear artless, but nothing can be further from the truth. Instead of mass plantings and carpets of color, the cottage garden is an artfully contrived irregularity that simulates the wonder of nature. Let neighboring plants and flowers live in harmonious simplicity. Lawns are replaced by tufts of grass, paths of stone that meander, and plantings of flowers that go right up to the edge of the path. Orderliness is found not in the mass, but in the microcosm with all its variety and contradiction.

OH there is blessing in this gentle breeze,
          A visitant that while it fans my cheek
          Doth seem half-conscious of the joy it brings
          From the green fields, and from yon azure sky.
          Whate'er its mission, the soft breeze can come
          To none more grateful than to me; escaped
          From the vast city, where I long had pined
          A discontented sojourner: now free,
          Free as a bird to settle where I will.
Wordsworth, The Prelude, introduction

Those that live in antiquarian libraries and study the art of the cottage garden suppose that the cottage garden had its roots in the Elizabethan Age. Then, they suppose, poetry and prose lead to experimentation in planting. Pshaw! I cannot believe that.

There have always been nature lovers and certainly the cottager of earlier days must have found beauty in the occasional wild flower growing in between the vegetables. The old lady who lived on the outskirts of town knew the medicinal value of wild flowers and dispensed her magic to those who came seeking help. And even the villager who found safety behind the town walls sought to build his own castle and accompanying gardens where he and she could take delight. Thus, a pot might contain a world of color and smell. A neighboring pot an herb for stew. Another, a cure for a tooth that aches. Necessity demanded vegetables for nourishment, but mankind also needs the beauty of a rose to inspire the soul.

English designer William Morris was a proponent of the cottage garden and incorporated elements of flowers and trees in many of his patterns. Gustav Stickley was also a proponent of the honest and simple life of the craftsman home and believed in extolling the benefits of nature. The Stickley rug collection contains many beautiful hand woven Nepalese wool rugs, including Cottage Garden and English Garden.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Father's Day

 Sunday is Father's Day. So what does dear old dad really want?
Daddy is my special friend,
The two of us are buddies.
I always like the things we do,
I'm thankful for my daddy.

I like when we fish,
We two, I like when we hunt
I like when we throw the ball around
Just for fun and laughs

Now Daddy’s getting old
And before its dinner time
Daddy likes to sit and relax
In a Motioncraft recliner

Mommy bought for him at Traditions Furniture 

Why not get Dad something special - a Motioncraft recliner where he can recline three ways or just push back and relax.

Save an extra 10% off our already low, low prices.

Three ways to relax.

Or just push back and relax.

Friday, March 18, 2016

What does the color red mean to you?

Color in design is subjective. What evokes reaction in one may evoke a different reaction in someone else. 

Red objects

Take red for example. Some who see red associate the color with anger, and that is perhaps why we think the toreador uses a red cape to catch the bull’s eye, except that bulls are color blind. Others associate red with passion and that is why red roses are a testimony to true love. Again, what woman doesn’t have her favorite shade of red lipstick when trying to stir things up. 

Make a statement

Kings and queens think of ruby red for the one of four “precious” gemstones, including diamond, emerald and sapphire. The gemstone is considered a talisman of passion, protection and prosperity. A fireman sees red as fiery and hot. A politico sees red as Republican and blue as Democrat and purple as something in between. A birdwatcher associates red with the beautiful cardinal. A cook sees red as a bit of spicy Italian spaghetti. A surgeon sees red as blood, the force that gives us life. 

Red has made its way into our vocabulary in a variety of ways – red alert, red faced, red hot, red blooded, and even red tape. And who doesn’t circle a calendar date in red and celebrate the occasion as a red letter day? All of which tells us that red can mean so many things to different people. 

Whatever your take on red, enjoy it.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

We thought of Stickley

Stickley Story, No. 729

When our daughter turned 21 we wanted to give her a special gift. Something that signified quality, beauty and strength. We thought of Stickley. 

These are stories of family traditions, treasured heirlooms, and uncompromising quality. Featured in Stickley story no. 729 are: the Gustav Stickley Morris recliner, the Uptown platform bed, the Harvey Ellis bookcase, and the Modern dining group.

Whether you have a Stickley story or one in the making, enjoy the beauty and quality of fine Stickley casegoods, sofas, and chairs at Traditions in Downtown Overland Park and in Wichita.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Never leave your hat on the bed

There is an old superstition that goes - it is bad luck to leave your hat on the bed.

When and where this superstition came from is lost. A good guess is that some unfortunate bloke went to work and left his hat on the bed. The rain gave him a cold and he died in bed.
The hat business has been in decline for years, unless one includes the ubiquitous baseball cap.
The decline in the Fedora, the Panama, and the Stetson have many causes. Instead of walking to work or taking the trolley, we ride in an air conditioned or heated car. The fury of Mother Nature has been, for the moment, tamed - until Mother Nature realizes mankind is messing around with climate change and She pours down her revenge.

That is something for politicians to think about.

put your hat over the bed and not on the bed

Speaking of politicians -

John F. Kennedy triggered a disastrous decline in the sales of men's hats by leaving home without his hat and appearing hat-less at his inauguration. William Henry Harrison was hat-less, coat-less, and glove-less and only 31 days after assuming office, the ninth president of the United States, died in bed of pneumonia.

There is an equally plausible explanation for the bad luck no hat superstition. A magician got up one morning and his wife laid out on the bed his tuxedo and top hat while he shaved and showered. When he dressed, he donned the tux and bow tie, put on the white gloves, but left without the hat - and the rabbit.

Bartholomew had a magical hat, in fact he had 500 hats, each one prettier than the last.

Will Rogers had a lucky hat

Will Rogers had a lucky hat. And along with a lariat and a few jokes he parlayed into a full time gig. He didn't joke about the hat, but he liked to say, "Everything is funny, as long as it's happening to somebody else,"and by everybody else, he meant politicians.

For good luck, rodeo cowboys are told they should not place a hat on a bed, eat peanuts, wear yellow, or quit roping practice on a miss. It's an odd combination, but one goes with what works. Besides, out on the range, if a cowboy tosses his hat on his bed roll, he is likely to lie down on it in the dark and flatten it like a cow-patty.

That is bad luck!

Monday, December 14, 2015

Far away in the sunshine

Far away there in the sunshine...

Far away there in the sunshine are my highest aspirations. I may not reach them, but I can look up and see their beauty, believe in them, and try to follow where they lead. LMA

are my highest aspirations

Louisa May Alcott from Elbert Hubbard's Scrap Book: Containing the Inspired and Inspiring Selections, Gathered During a Lifetime of Discriminating Reading for His Own Use, page 62.

believe... and follow where they lead

Elbert Hubbard was, like most of us, a gatherer. He gathered up the spoken thoughts and wisdom of other men and women and this quest lead him far and wide. It was the quest he enjoyed. It is the thoughts and sayings we remember.