DIY: Advent Calendar – Free Printables

December 5th, 2012

What a lovely and original Advent calendar from French designer, Zü. She has very generously shared the printable forms so that you can download and create this free advent calendar yourself. All you need is a printer, some paper and scissors and string. Instructions in French and English here, with of course, the printables.

Zü also has an online shop with her lovely creations such as vintage cloud cushions, sweet raindrops below and wonderful vintage posters. Take a look here.

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Happy Thanksgiving! & Thanksgiving Centerpieces

November 21st, 2012


Wishing a very Happy Thanksgiving to all of you who are celebrating! Here are some great, rustic Thanksgiving Centerpieces. Some of them might inspire you,  just in case you were still looking – some of them could be put together in a pinch. The one below near the lake really has me dreaming.

xox, jeanne





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Hansel from Basel Kids

November 16th, 2012

These ultra-colorful and creative socks, leggings and accessories from LA based company, Hansel From Basel, are calling me today. I am always looking for fun accessories to blast the winter blues, especially socks, for the kiddos. They also have mood-lifting accessories for the big kids. I especially like their wild stockings. Check out their arty blog as well.






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Patrick Dougherty & Dr. Seuss Sculpture Garden at Springfield Mass. Museum

November 9th, 2012


I am a huge fan of Patrick Dougherty’s work as you might have known from this previous post. So, I imagine my joy when I realized he has an exhibition called Room by Room at the Springfield Massachusetts Museum and that we could swing by on our way back from Cape Cod (see our trip here)…which is what we did. I am trying here to give you a really good idea of the structure and beauty of this piece – it is hard to capture. The girls had a ball playing in this ultimate cubby house.

And I was just informed by Patrick’s peeps that Bending Sticks, the documentary film about Patrick Dougherty and his sculptures, will have its World Premier at the Carolina Theater in Durham, NC on December 2nd, 2012 at 4PM.  Tickets ($12) will be available after Nov 12 by calling the box office 919-560-3030 or at the door on the day.  Film makers, Penelope Maunsell, Kenny Dalsheimer and Patrick will attend and there will be an photo exhibition too. See a trailer here. Wish I could go.




And then there is the is Dr. Seuss Sculpture Garden. Just wonderful!




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Fantastic Halloween Pumpkins and Jack-o-Lanterns

October 25th, 2012


What amazing pumpkins and Jack-o-Lanterns that are devised each year. They seem to get more and more creative. And you still have time to attempt one of these! Here was last year’s selection.


Via & Via

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Buddy Bears in Paris

October 17th, 2012


Has your city been visited by the Buddy Bears yet? Here they are proudly lined up in front of the Eiffel Tower in Paris. Oona wants to make one like this, so she tells me…

Everything started in Berlin in June 2001, when the  ”Buddy Bear Berlin Show“ was launched. The raised arms of the upright Buddy Bears communicated a friendly attitude and optimism. The Buddy Bears were such a great success that the exhibition continued until the end of 2002. At the same time, many companies and private individuals bought Buddy Bears for their home country or hometown, which increasingly turned the Buddy Bears into global ambassadors of Berlin.




And here they are in St. Petersburg…

and in Kitzbühel in Austria (where I worked in a ski lodge in my crazier, younger days)…

and in Cairo, where I also visited.



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Sowearto T-shirts – South Africa

September 26th, 2012




Sowearto is the go-to shop for baby shower gifts and birthday gifts for little Joburgers, Capetonians, and Saffers [South Africans] everywhere. Locals adore the serious portraits of Nelson Mandela as much as they go for the “inside joke” feeling of prints which reference brands found only here, such as Inkomazi milk, Lion matches, and Sunlight dishwashing liquid — all screened onto 100 percent cotton shirts.

Sowearto (pronounced “So-WEAR-Toe) provides a fresh perspective on the “afro chic” style so beloved in South Africa. Unlike an “I ♥ New York” shirt that would be worn mainly by tourists, South African style is being fully embraced by nationals of all backgrounds, as South Africa continues to re-invent itself despite its economic and social difficulties.

Be sure to check out their fashion lines for grown-ups, too here!



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Ulriksdal Castle Garden (Ulriksdal Trägård) – Stockholm

September 13th, 2012


I took Francesca and Gray to Ulriksdal Gardens recently where you can pick-your-own produce. I knew we were going somewhere out of the ordinary. From the moment we entered and picked up our individual baskets and scissors, I think we were all equally mesmerized.



We returned with a bounty of kale, green and purple beans, potatoes and a whole lot more. We were too early for the fennel root and had just missed the Swiss chard, but apparently, one can go online to see what is currently available here.



Besides Ulriksdal’s pick-your-own gardens and The Royal Theatre, Konfidencen, Ulriksdal has strings of garden plants, greenhouses, artisan garden pottery and even an indoor cafe for lunches and coffee. The scents and colors feel like they wake winter senses like the Prince’s kiss did for Snow White. (Seriously, if you have ever experienced winter at 59 degree N, you would understand exactly what I am talking about!)



Grayson picked so many potatoes we were able to gift them to friends! We also left with kale, green and purple beans and a beautiful bouquet of 12 flowers.




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Governor’s Island – New York

August 28th, 2012


Here’s our visit to Governor’s Island, which we call “Ice-Cream Cone Island” because that’s what it’s shaped like. This small island which is really close to the southern tip of Manhattan, has a long history as a military facility and coast guard base etc. and a few years ago it was sold to the people of New York for us to enjoy. The island was also residential for the military but now nobody can live there, so you have an island full of Victorian and Greek revival houses so close to Manhattan that are empty! It’s like a ghost town in some ways.

The most fascinating fact for me is that in 1637, Wouter Van Twiller, representative of Holland, purchased Governors Island from the Native Americans of “Manahatas” (for which Manhattan was named) for two axe heads, a string of beads, and a handful of nails…almost as expensive as Manhattan!  Anyway, we chose one of the hottest days to go there in this hottest summer on record, but still had a great time. There is a really full schedule of events and things to do for the visiting period: every Saturday, Sunday and Holiday Monday from May 26 – September 30. Check out the official website for more info. You get there by free ferry from Manhattan or Brooklyn and it only takes about seven minutes.


The girls at the Children’s Museum of the Arts Teaching Artists area. They have new themes and projects each weekend, including everything from painting and drawing to large-scale sculpture.  For more information, visit their website.





We got to tour Castle Williams which just opened to the public this season.

Views of Manhattan from the island


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