I have always been inspired by a good floral shop. Shop owners and their floral designers always hold dear to their hearts, the wonder of fresh flowers and hand picked home accessories. It is my secret extravagance. "More than anything, I must have flowers" said Claude Monet.....and so it goes that my weekly "to-do" list always consists of a stop at one of my favorite florists. We can always count on them to welcome the beginning of any season, SPRING, SUMMER, AUTUMN or WINTER. It matters not which season, as our spirits are always heightened when we are inside. One of my favorite places to go is STEMS AND TWIGS. It is a family owned business which is always the best kind as their hearts and souls run the business and they are always community involved.
This little and quaint shop is located in a suburb of Chicago called Western Springs. In fact, I recently received a wonderful birthday arrangement created especially for me. My daughter Kim who lives in another state ordered it for me and it was delivered to my door. Tish is the owner of the store and her staff is wonderful. When they know you and what you like, a phone ordered gift from Stems and Twigs never fails and even if they don't know you, you will always love what has been created especially for you. Here is a picture of the arrangement that I received for my birthday along with my wonderful witch by Dee Gann. Her "life" on this breakfast table is about to end for another year. I have loved her visit! Don't you love the bright Fall colors in this pumpkin?
Visiting this shop for this post found Claudia, S&T's floral designer, creating a seasonal pumpkin- filled floral arrangement for a baby shower.............a baby boy. How beautiful.
We have come a long way baby from the ceramic, carnation stuffed bootie.
As I continued my store tour of seasonal offerings, the ambiance lifted my spirits of a season full of pumpkins, witches and an outdoor garden filled with even more pumpkins. As I stepped outside to this rustic and beautiful little garden, the sound of rustling leaves which crunched under foot, left me in awe, wishing I could sit down and enjoy this little hidden little part of the world at Stems and Twigs. Fall has been upon us for many weeks now and we are all ready for the next holiday season, but not so at this tiny and special little shop. So many things called my name, but most of all, I was so at peace as I took it all in.
A TINY LITTLE SHOP FULL OF AMBIENCE
To Tish, to Claudia and to the staff at Stems and Twigs, thank you for the events we have done together, for the kitchen walks and the tablescapes I have created with you at my side, designer showcase homes and more......and in my heart I know there will be more. Your flowers, your shop and your creativity is a true inspiration to our town and we are so lucky to have you.
HAPPY HALLOWEEN EVERYONE...................
Always, Mary Anne
COMING IN POSTS AHEAD WILL BE THE DESIGNING OF
REDD HERRING, A NEW LOCAL RESTAURANT
A VISIT TO A FRENCH COUNTRY HOME
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Exploring some of my favorite shops takes me to a beautiful little town on the Fox River called Geneva, Illinios. It is a place full of many unique and creative shops. But, the one shop I wish to tell you most about is Scentimental Gardens. Debra Phillips of the blogspot 5TH AND STATE, is also the owner and creator of this "treat of a shop" that makes me have those "wow" moments consistantly everytime I walk through her doors. The mix is that of garden- meets- vintage and antiques. Candle fragrances linger over wooden floors and mossy pots. Created out of molds, especially for SG, are unique collections of cement leaves, large shells and basket containers, large bowls and pots sitting along side of little birds and nests just waiting for that special home or garden in which to rest.
. Last week there were wonderful organic ceiling fixtures that could affordably update anyones kitchen or family room. Unique lamps that have a history and have been reinvented for todays home will be found sprinkled about in this most creative atmosphere. Table vinettes that offer beautiful centerpieces (Deb has a wonderful floral designer on staff...........AND Lo and behold, there is one of those wonderful velvet pumpkins with the real pumpkin stem.......)
Every so often Deb will offer a special creation from a local artist whose name is Dee Gann. Her Halloween witches and Christmas Santas' hold expressions of wit and wonder and are always dressed in vintage fabrics and accessories.
This whimsical Halloween visiter is from my personal collection created by Dee Gann
Some of the latest and greatest book offerings on design and entertaining in home and garden are stacked high on the second floor for your reading pleasure. Pillows, pillows and more pillows spill from sofas and chairs for that special new home accent. Old chairs piled high on tables that are bleached and worn and ready to make any home more welcome and cozy..................and always a wonderful selection of art for the walls that is very often a one-of-a-kind, custom framed images done by Deb or her staff.
A Fall visitor at Scentimental Gardens
If this Victorian house isn't enough to temp the senses, go outside and visit her garage..............yes, I did say garage! You will find footed urns abounding in all shapes, colors and sizes. Antique cement deer keep watch over the visiters that seem motionless as they enter in disbelief that a garage could be filled with such wonder. It is without a doubt a feast for the senses and you begin to realize that it matters not if you enter through the front door, the back door or the garage door. The content and placement of all objects is a shopping pleasure for all who enter Deb's world. Samplings of her planted talents will greet you at each entrance always displaying her creativity in natures form regardless of the season. If you want to be put into the Christmas mood come mid November, that ole garage will be loaded with greens, holly, winterberries, wreaths and garlands, leaving a fragrance that will linger in your head and heart all season long.
It has been a pleasure sharing one of my favorite shops in the Chicago area. The staff and Deb's super sidekick and more than capable assistant, Sarah, is always ready to assist you with any of your shopping needs. Maybe I will meet you there!!! While visiting, ask about their sister shop called SG II.
Please forgive me for being absent from my new duties. We have had out of town guests for almost a week. (I can't believe how much that has cut down on my visits with all of you.) But, we just won't let out this little secret. Coming for you in my next post will be the sharing of a few shops that I love and frequently use for my design clients. They will always 'please' and always 'deliver' that something special. The owners posess that passion for what is unique and they settle for nothing less. You are going to enjoy their little havens of creativity! See you all in a couple of days....................
FOR THOSE OF US WHO LIVE IN THE MIDWEST, IT IS AN EXCITING TIME OF YEAR. WE ARE BLESSED WITH THE FOUR SEASONS, (ONE OF WHICH IS NOT MY FAVORITE, BUT I AM REMINDED OF THE NECCESSITY OF BALANCE IN LIFE WHEN THE SNOW FLIES!!!!!!!!) AS I MENTIONED IN MY FIRST POST, MOTHER NATURE REALLY KNOWS HOW TO CREATE THE COLORS OF THE SEASON. (WOULDN'T THIS HEAD OF KALE INSPIRE COLORS FOR THE BEGINNING OF A NEW ROOM? GRAY GREENS AND PLUM......HMMMMM.) THEN THERE ARE THOSE WHO WORK HARD TO CHOOSE OR CREATE THE ACCESSORIES OF THE SEASON THAT MAKE A HOUSE A HOME. THE MORE SERIOUS ACCESSORIES, THOSE THAT ARE THE MAINSTAYS OF OUR ROOMS, TAKE MORE CAREFUL CONSIDERATION. THEY ARE NOT NECESSARILY SEASONAL, BUT HELP TO CREATE OR ACCESSORIZE OUR ROOMS, ,GIVING THEM THE IDENTITY THEY DESERVE. BUT ISN'T IT FUN SHOPPING FOR SOMETHING NEW THAT SAYS FALL IS HERE? OUR LOCAL NURSERY IS ALWAYS 'FALL READY' WITH A GREAT SELECTION OF KALE, MUMS, ASTERS, GOURDS, SQUASH AND PUMPKINS. HOME SHOWS, NURSERIES AND EVEN THE LOCAL GROCER HAS SOMETHING FOR US TO CHOOSE. LET'S GO SEARCHING.............. WE WOULD CALL IT 'THEHUNT'. FINDING SOMETHING NEW, CREATES 'THE BUY' AND THEN OF COURSE ONE THING LEADS TO ANOTHER AND HEREIN BEGINS A ROOM CHANGE (VERY OFTEN DONE AT MIDNIGHT). THERE IS SOME ONE I KNOW QUITE WELL THAT ACTUALLY CHANGED A ROOM AROUND BECAUSE OF ONE ACCESSORY. YOU KNOW, AN IDLE CREATIVE MIND CAN BE DANGEROUS WHEN ALL IS QUIET. (SOMEHOW, I AM FEELING THAT I MAY NOT BE ALONE IN THIS CRAZINESS)
CONFIT POT WITH FRESH SUNFLOWERS
A WONDERFUL CONFIT POT, ONE OF THOSE MORE 'SERIOUS BUYS', ( AN ANTIQUE THAT IS QUITE COLLECTABLE), WAS PURCHASED ON ONE OF MY BUYING TRIPS TO FRANCE. THESE POTS ORIGINALLY CAME FROM DORDOGNE. YOU WILL NOTICE THAT THE BOTTOM OF THIS POT IS WITHOUT A GLAZE.
(MORE POROUS FOR GREATER COOLING) THE COOKED DUCK WAS PUT INTO THIS POT, COVERED WITH THE DUCK GREASE WHICH SEALED AND PRESERVED THE DUCK WITHIN. IT WAS THEN TAKEN TO THE COOL WATERS EDGE AND PUSHED DOWN INTO THE SAND AND LEFT TO COOL INDEFINATELY FOR MONTHS. THIS WAS THE ONLY METHOD OF REFRIGERATION MANY YEARS AGO. THE MUSTARD COLOR IS MOST POPULAR, BUT A BEAUTIFUL GREEN GLAZE IS ALSO AVAILABLE AND MORE RARE. THESE POTS MAKE GREAT VESSELS FOR FLOWERS ANYTIME OF THE YEAR AND LOOK WONDERFUL WITH GREENS AT CHRISTMASTIME. (If you happen have one that might have holes in the bottom, find a glass vase to put down inside the pot and fill that with water for your flowers. No one will ever know the difference.)
A NEW BUSINESS IN TOWN CALLED INSPIRE HG
THIS WONDERFUL COLLECTION OF MERCHANDISE WAS SHOWCASED IN A BEAUTIFUL FRENCH COUNTRY HOME IN A SUBURB OF CHICAGO. THE MIX AND AMBIANCE OF IT ALL, QUITE DELIGHTFUL. FAUX APPLES THAT LOOKED LIKE YOU COULD TAKE A BITE, VINTAGE FURNITURE, ANTIQUES, LIMED OAK MIRRORS, FILLED OUTDOOR URNS, TABLETOP FLORAL, CROCKS, UNIQUE LAMPS AND LANTERNS AND A WONDERFUL ASSORTMENT OF BASKETS FOR WALL AND GATHERING. BELOW IS A SAMPLING OF THAT 'HOME SHOW' TO SHARE WITH YOU. I THINK YOU WOULD HAVE LOVED IT.
CEMENT CONTAINERS WITH MOSS
FRESH OUTDOOR VINETTE
IF YOU WISH TO VISIT THEIR WEBSITE WHICH IS UNDER CONSTRUCTION, YOU WILL GET UPDATES AS TO WHEN THEY WILL BE DOING THEIR HOLIDAY SHOW. FOR THOSE OF YOU THAT LIVE IN THE CHICAGO AREA...............
GO TO INSPIRE HG.COM TO STAY IN TOUCH. INCIDENTLY, THE PHOTO AT THE BEGINNING OF THE THIS POST IN THE UPPER RIGHT HAND CORNER IS ALSO FROM INSPIRE HG
Until my next post, have a cozy fall weekend where ever you may be.