May 31, 2009

Inspired Window Shopping

While strolling through The Grove in Los Angeles with Leah of after a bread baking class yesterday, I was stopped in my tracks by the window display at Anthropologie.  No, it wasn't a dress or a necklace that caught my eye, it was hundreds of colorful disks floating in the air.  

Upon closer inspection, the disks appear to be made of wax paper. I think one could recreate this look by layering two pieces of wax paper with colored tissue in the middle and then applying an iron (but make certain you put something like a sheet between the wax paper and the iron).  I think I am going to have to try this out and report back.  In the mean time, enjoy the few photos I snapped!

Wouldn't they beautiful in a baby's room?  Or strung-up at a party?

May 27, 2009


Summer days are meant for driving with the top down.  Here are a few rides I wouldn't mind cruising around in.  

Pick up your own, much more affordable version, in Sparker Shop!


I know, I know, we just had a three-day weekend, but I still have a case of the Wednesday blues. These pictures are helping me muddle through by keeping my thoughts on all of the summer weekends just around the corner!

Photo by Jonathan Skow

May 21, 2009

Blue Willow in Sparker Shop!

Blue Willow Dinner Plates and Creamer in Sparker Shop

I am so thrilled to offer Blue Willow china in my shop!  It is a pattern that I have personally been collecting for about eight months, and I just can't get enough of these classic blue and white pieces.  

First made in England in the late 1700s, Blue Willow is one of the most widely collected china patterns.  Legend says the design is based on an ancient Chinese story about a wealthy landowner trying to keep his betrothed daughter from fleeing with her lover.  In some versions of the story the pair are killed and others result in a tragic double suicide.  In either event, as depicted in the pattern, the two lovers are transformed into lovebirds, together forever.  

The love affair with Blue Willow has seen a recent resurgence with retailers Williams Sonoma Home and Pottery Barn releasing versions of the pattern.  While these interpretations are beautiful, if you are like me, you want a piece with history that has been lovingly cared for over the years.  

This ever popular pattern continually graces the walls and tables of chic homes in the pages of decor magazines and books.

From Carolyne Roehm's book "A Passion for Blue and White" via Absolutely Beautiful Things

Can you spot the Blue Willow in Nina and Mark Magowan's Southampton home?  
Via Elle Decor, June 2009

So keep an eye out for the blue and white, or click through to Sparker Shop to begin your collection today!  I am offering 10 dinner plates and a creamer made in England by Wood & Sons.  And to learn more, visit the International Willow Collector's website.

May 20, 2009

Sneak Peek

Coming to Sparker Shop this week: Willow ware, sherbet cups, gorgeous dessert plates and a blue pony!  Stay tuned...

May 17, 2009


Will someone please invite me to a party at which it would be appropriate to wear this?

This and other pretties available in Myra Callan's etsy shop, Twigs & Honey.

May 16, 2009


A few weeks ago we went camping in Joshua Tree to celebrate a friend's thirtieth birthday.  I am always struck by the beauty of the harsh landscape and frequently take lots of pictures on our forays into the desert.  This time around I brought my new Diana camera.  I, of course, forgot the instruction booklet and had to wing it a bit, but eventually figured out how to load the film and snap a photo.  Here are a couple of my shots.  There is a lot of room for improvement, but the fuzzy, overexposed images have me hooked*.

May 13, 2009

Spring in Boston

Back from Boston.  It was a whirlwind trip filled with family, spring flowers, a wedding and the Red Sox.  Throughout our visit I carried along my new favorite accessory - my Nikon D40.  I haven't figured out all of the bells and whistles yet, but I am having a lot of fun with my new camera!

Lily of the Valley in a Cambridge garden.

Beautiful red door snapped on our walk through Cambridge.

Love the red shutters on the grandparents' colonial.

Fragrant lilacs in my sister-in-law's backyard.

May 12, 2009

Love Thy Neighbor

I love my neighbors.  Seriously, they're great.  Case in point, they dumpster dive for me.  This evening Eric from down the hall knocked on the door with an armful of goodies.  While taking out his trash he noticed someone had left four double rolls of brand new, flocked wallpaper!  Now I need to devise a project for all of this paper.  Any suggestions?

May 5, 2009

In the Shop

A flurry of activity in the shop this week.  Let's get to it!

A beautiful example of California pottery, this serving dish by Santa Anita Ware has beautiful chestnut, mustard and fire orange glaze and a faux bois-textured back.

Lovely lemon slices decorate this Pyrex carafe. It has a ribbed neck for gripping and is perfect for water or lemonade.

As a set they are chip and dip, but really you could use these for so many things! Imagine a crisp green salad in the large bowl?

Bright green and yellow peonies decorate the small porcelain vase.  A decorative addition to your tabletop or desk alone, but even better with a few flowers snipped from the garden.

Margaritas on the patio, anyone?   Handblown green glass pitcher with a long neck would be perfect for cocktails this summer.

This 70s throw-back is anything but kitsch. Going beyond string art, this is really more like embroidery. Yarn and string flowers on burlap in pretty spring colors.

Adorable little blue and white vase with a fishnet pattern.  Bottom has Japanese characters written on it in blue.

May 3, 2009

On the Menu: Beet Greens

At the market this evening I couldn't resist picking up a bunch of beets.  I don't know why, as I have never cooked beets before, but something about their bright green leaves and vibrant stalks made me want to try them out. 

In between photographing items for the shop and getting the house in order for the week, I did a quick search for "beet green recipe" because I wanted to go beyond just roasting the beets and use the entire vegetable.  One of the first things that popped up called for ingredients that I had on hand - onion, garlic, chili flakes.  The one exception was bacon... but I did have leftover brats in the fridge.  

So I threw together a meal based on this pasta with beet greens recipe and it was quite delicious.  We'll definitely be having beet greens again!

May 2, 2009

Go Forth and Eat With Confidence

Food writers Brooke Burton and Leah Greenstein of the blogs and jolted the food blogging community this week with the introduction of the Food Blog Code of Ethics.  Written to "draw attention to the food bloggers who hold themselves to higher standards," The Code reflects the guidelines most print food journalists follow.  

Between a write-up in the New York Times and being the topic of discussion among many a foodie, these ladies have struck a chord.  I personally take reviews online with a grain of salt, but with the introduction of these guidelines, I know that bloggers whom adhere to The Code are on a different level.  I can read their reviews and opinions with a grain of salt (because after all, we all have differing opinions), but know that the writers are fair and forthright.  

So when looking to food blogs to set the course for your dining experience, will you seek out sites that follow The Code?

On a food-related note, I ate this pork French dip 
sandwich at Cole's this afternoon.