Friday, May 27, 2011

Memorial Day

Memorial Day was first observed on 30 May 1868, when flowers were placed on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery. In 1971 Congress, with the passage of the National Holiday Act, established a three day weekend by making Memorial Day the last Monday in May.

While Memorial Day is dedicated to remembering those who have died serving the nation in war, it is only fitting that this weekend serve to remind us that tragedy makes all of us Americans.A shared sacrifice is an American value.

The tornado in Joplin last week devastated an area six miles long and up to three-fourths of a mile across. There are over 120 dead and hundreds still missing. The tornado was indiscriminate in its destruction. Along with hundreds of homes and dozens of businesses, it struck a hospital and three churches. The tragic stories of love ones pulled out of cars or from the arms of a mother fill us with heartache. Missouri Governor Nixon said: "You almost felt like you were walking on the hallowed ground of a battlefield. ... We are going to battle back."

On Sunday President Obama plans to visit Joplin. No doubt he will remind us of the many natural tragedies that have occurred recently.  These include other tornadoes in Reading, Kansas and in Oklahoma, along with the masive flood waters of the Mississippi. In a memorial service on Sunday, the President will recognize the significance of the loss in Joplin but also make plans to move forward. We are a resilient nation. Memorial Day reminds us of that.

This Memorial Day many Americans are spending the weekend helping out fellow Americans. You too can honor Memorial Day and help.

CNN - How to help Joplin, tornado victims.

KAKE - Find out how you can help Reading, Kansas.

Memorial Day has many other traditions - flying the flag, visiting the cemetery, simply remembering loved ones, wearing a poppy flower as a buttoneer, and yes, even the Memorial Day cook-out are all symbols that as a people we honor our traditions. Be American, take time off, come together, honor others on Memorial Day.

Monday, May 16, 2011

42nd Symphony Designers' Showhouse

The 2011, 42nd Symphony Designers' Showhouse in Kansas City viewing ends May 22nd.

This 1912 English-style limestone home is located at 1000 Westover Road, just off  Ward Parkway, north of the famous Kansas City Plaza. The house features an Italian-tiled roof, large veranda and sun room, along with its 6 bedrooms. In additions to its noticeable English style, one sees a colonnaded front porch reminiscent of Greek architecture, Gothic influences in the three front gables, and the influence of the English and American Arts and Crafts Movement its straight forward construction and attention to landscape.

More than 30 designers and the volunteer staff of the Kansas City Symphony Alliance are involved in making the 2011 showhouse truly beautiful. Traditions Furniture is proud to be a part of this effort having done the Formal Entry and Library.

Stickley Furniture's 18th century Hepplewhite Collection greets the guest in the entry. This mahogany sideboard is the epitome of the Hepplewhite style, a design that is slender, curvilinear and rich in detail. This includes the serpentine bow front drawers in crotch mahogany and serpentine cupboard doors also in crotch mahogany. Drawers and doors both have double maple inlay that provide balance and contrast.

Facing the sideboard is an arrangement of Sid Dickens Memory Blocks. The arrangement represent the several motifs of the house, that includes music and the appreciation of nature through landscaping and design. Sid Dickens Memory Blocks are hand crafted, made with attentions to detail, and truly unique.

From the entry one enters the piano room, and then into the library. The placement of the room to the east of the home gives an impression of  light and airiness. French doors and over-scaled windows along all of the exterior walls add light to the room and allow the visitor to enjoy the beauty of the garden to the outside.

The library is long and narrow, but within the room are multiple study areas. Near to the entry is a Stickley writing desk in quarter-sawn oak. Quarter-sawn oak was used by Gustav Stickley in his furniture because of the beauty of its pattern as well as the durability of the native American oak. Decorating the desk are Stickley accessories and pottery by Door Pottery. Adjacent to the desk is the Leopold Leather Chair designed by Leopold Stickley, brother of Gustav. The lighting includes Tiffany style lamps by Quoizel. To the right of the desk is a Stickley Mica Newel Post.

The far end of the room features a built in cabinet with decorative accessories that befit a library, books, Door Pottery, and picture frames to record the moments of our lives. An upholstered sofa and chair by Stickley provide a sitting area where the affairs of the day can be discussed.

There are of course many other beautiful rooms in the showhouse. And the many great designers have added their own unique perspective on style. Like the flowers of Spring, creativity is blooming at the 42nd Symphony Designers' Showhouse.

Tickets are $15 at the door. Come and support a good cause, the Kansas City Symphony.