The luck of the Irish…brings spring!


Top o’ the evening to ya!
“May good luck be your friend in whatever you do,
and may trouble always be a stranger to you.”

Oh, thank goodness for St. Patrick’s Day!! The snow has melted and the sun is shining, spring is on its way (until Sunday when snow is forecasted…but I refuse to believe it for a minute!). I was so inspired by the sunshine that I decided it was at long last time to retire the snowmen. For the most part I prefer snowmen to Santa’s when decorating for the holidays. Santa is just plain silly come January, whereas a snowman is at home until the last snow fall (which in Chicago can unfortunately mean through April. I can’t tell you how many times opening day for the Cubs is endured only with the benefit of down parkas, fleece lined boots and hand warmers in your mittens. Brrr.).

Some of my snowmen are especially charming. On the mantle shelf, above the cook top in my kitchen, were Mr. and Mrs. Cute Snow Couple. They are wearing coordinating red nubby jackets, trimmed with faux fur. He is quite jolly with a sprig of mistletoe tucked into his top hat, while she is elegant in her faux fur chapeau embellished with a little bit of holly. For years my pal Judy and I have been going to Christmas at the Faire, which isn’t as much a craft fair, but an opportunity for artisans to display their wares. It’s super fun to attend the preview night. The women come from miles around at 5 o’clock in the evening, on a Thursday night, and the line to get in snakes around the building. Everyone is dressed in their holiday finest as we shop, chat and have what is always a beautiful buffet dinner. We gals will do anything for a night out and these people don’t even serve wine! Though over the years Judy and I have perfected the experience, first by bringing a flask (shopping is so much better with a buzz), and then the past few years by flaunting our bad behavior by bringing bottles that we set out right on the tables. Rebels I tell you! Anyway, three years ago when we were on our little adventure, Judy and I both bought snowman paintings on canvases. Having never hung mine up before (quite frankly I misplaced it in the basement and forgot that I had it), I dusted it off, and found a home for Sally (that’s what I’ve named her) on my kitchen mantle. She was lovely.

I am a hoarder of all things, silly snowmen included. Because I am a gluttonous pig I also purchased this pedestal snowman from the Faire. His name is Fred. He spoke to me because he is sparkly and I am easily distracted by shiny objects. All it takes is a dusting of glitter. What I appreciate about him from a decorating perspective is that he adds height, but not bulk, so we works quite nicely in a grouping. Fred has lived in a number of places. He has been in the Foyer, the Powder Room and now the Kitchen. He really gets around. This year I was loving him on my island as a compliment to an iron basket full of melon sized glittery snowballs. To complete my vignette I framed our Christmas picture, a great close up of Nick, Amanda and Wrigley, and placed it next to our Christmas card from seven years ago which was an equally delightful a close up of Nick and Amanda (two months prior to Wrigley’s adoption). I am a proponent of the close up. Unless you are wearing a fabulous dress, have a great action shot, or are showcasing a landscape, the close up is the only way to go.

So, out with the cold and in with the spring! I bought this great oil painting, depicting these sweet bunny rabbits sharing a lettuce leaf last year, but I had yet to find them a home. I think they are perfect on my shelf! To balance out the equation I rested it slightly off center and placed a bird cage candle holder to the right. What I love about the birdcage is that it is tall and slender, so it adds some height, but not so much that it competes with the picture frame. It also brings an airy quality to the vignette because you look right through it. The addition of the candle adds dimension. To the left I have selected a large floral ball. It serves two purposes. The ball in this instance adds texture and the sphere is an interesting contrast to all of the linear objects. Every kitchen needs a rooster or three (and possibly 14 pieces of artwork too. I’ll have to show you those another day). It’s so very French….. Oo la la! What works so beautifully about this particular rooster is that it is sculptural, for another perspective, it is colorful and works seamlessly with my green cabinets, but it is also linear to mimic the height of the birdcage on the other side. For my personal aesthetic I’m crazy for balance, but not necessarily symmetry. I find that balance provides for a more pleasing display. I’ve never been one for the matchy matchy Garanimals look. I prefer more whimsy in my visual diet.

Speaking of whimsy, Target is the single most amazing store ever. High style, low prices. Genius! Several years ago I was cruising the aisles at Target, which is one of my all times favorite past times (Amanda and I were cruising their aisles this very afternoon as a matter of fact. Super cute stuff too. More about that later….). I spotted this amazing wire rooster. It was a seasonal item, intended for the yard, but I saw so much more. In essence this is a piece of art (just because it comes from Target with a reasonable price tag, doesn’t mean we should discard its artistic merit). Elliot (come on, he just looks like an Elliot) stands proudly at 30” tall, which is rather large when anchoring an island. He only works because he is sculpted out of wire, so even though he is huge he maintains a light, aristocratic quality.

All this spring talk makes me want to buy flowers, but I guess we’ll have to wait a little bit longer. You know how the saying goes…..April showers bring May flowers. Happy days, we’re almost there…….

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