Tulsa Tough 2009

I was totally caught off guard by this event ..... this is really cool!

In today's fast paced world, it is refreshing to see a community focused on the healthy lifestyles & the future of a cities youth lifestyles they will carry with them as adults.

I was introduced to this program about a month ago through a random email. It was a program that I had not heard anything about before I received the forward. We all get these from time to time and 90% of the time they get deleted in my mailbox.

This one was a program for kids 3rd - 5th grade to attend classes, a race and work toward a new Trek bicycle. When my son heard that he was all over this one!

At a loss of knowledge I signed him up, we made the cut and he was registered. Our local St. Francis Children's Hospital donates 250 Trek bikes to children on a limited sign up basis and at the end of an 8 mile ride, the bike is yours to keep. Yes, 8 miles!

So, this morning we drove to downtown Tulsa and headed toward the River parks starting line. I was not expecting the people, tents or the national sports channel covering the events! Nor did I think there would be a big screen television as the cyclists raced. With a purse of $151,000 there were some of the best cyclist teams both men and women from throughout the world at the www.tulsatough.com event. There were pro cyclist races, tour rides and then the 8 mile Tulsa townie race for the little riders.

It was a great day with Sunday being the last of three rigorous days of cycling for the pros. They have races from Friday ( Blue Dome District), Saturday (The Brady Arts District), to Sunday (River Parks Festival) & Tulsa townie ride.

Here is my main man, Drew before his race scoping out the competition! With Camelbak, helmet and his new Trek bike. What a gorgeous day and location for the race!

Some of the kids catching some shade and off their bikes before the race. There were over 250 kids alone entered in the race that went 8 miles.

The registration tent where you signed in and awaited the race. River Parks stretches from the South Tulsa edge of the west to east side of the Arkansas River and goes towards down town Tulsa. A newly renovated area with trails, parks within the park, and many places to sit and read or just watch the river!

As we were awaiting the kiddos to finish their race we caught the end of the men's race. Here they are coming around Harwelden Mansion hill .... a favorite sledding hill & photographic location.

I took this one, a bit blurry to show the cyclists as they were coming down the hill, before the turn.

Ta da!! The end of the race..... Drew & friend were catching their breaths and polishing their interview skills as they were interviewed for television airing this evening at 10:00. Great job boys!! Now they need some f-o-o-d ......... of course, what else do boys want all the time? And yes..... his father let him get that Mohawk for baseball season! We are going to the State tournament soon and I lost the vote! It is a summer thing, so I told him to enjoy it because it's not dress code for school. I have not gotten used to it yet!

The last race, the pro women's race we saw before we left today. This was an inspiring day for anyone. My son's highlight was to ride with his friend and the American cyclist team member; Floyd Landis who rode with the boys through out their race today! How cool is that? No wonder they did not stop at the halfway point, I guess they were "living strong" today.

A view down the path as we made our way to the car & the air conditioning. This was a perfect day, not much to do with design I know but the setting was really stylized and the neighborhood picturesque.

Now, you know I had to sneak in some kind of design into the post..... this is the back lawn of Mc Birney mansion. It was once called home, but is now rented for private parties, events and weddings / receptions. I have been to a few wedding reception's here, it is a beautiful place which overlooks the river and is a rolling lawn where people picnic in the summer and there is much snow in the winter.

A picture of the front of Harwelden, it is a classic brick style mansion with Tudor touches and a wonderful bronze sculpture in the oval garden as you walk up by Rosalind Cook. This one is just up the hill a little further but is another Tulsa treasure as it can be rented out for weddings / parties. I had my own wedding reception there, just beautiful.

All photo credits by Moi.....

Hang Time...

Enjoying some hang time with family & friends this weekend, I hope you are enjoying the first official weekend of summer after the holiday. I love this pool from the California home of Rachel Ashwell, founder of the Shabby Chic home good stores. A wonderful spot to catch some rays!

Have a good Sunday, take a dip, plant some flowers, walk the neighborhood or just sip some sweet tea! I am off to a 8 mile bike race with my son..... Enjoy the day!

Images from Shabby Chic


Swimmingly ......

This image from the Intercontinental Hotel in Festival City in Dubai. Taken by Daniel IKHC
A blend of three exposures ... in the right place at the right time. The anonymous swimmer is in perfect position for the shot.

It is around 90* here today so after a cool spell ... summer is back on! Just could not resist this image looking up from the street level to this high rise hotel room! Someone bring me my towel, slippers, ........ what a dipping pool!

Image from Flickr

Finding your niche

Finding the right niche for your own design can take time. Almost like a fine wine, you can go through many a bottles before you find your favorite taste, color,brand or year. I have a lot of looks and loves when it comes to interiors here are a few of my favorites at the moment. I have evolved into the French love of aged pieces with a twist of modern flair.

This is really a modern space full of light with a French inspired armoire tucked into the space at one end of the bath. The cabinet is used for storage of items and the Tele. I like the contrast to the otherwise very sleek and white bath. Just one piece can make a difference to the feel of a room.

This kitchen is also a favorite. I really like the tiling in the background. The small tiles with a touch of a 1x1 color tile in between the field tile. I am also drawn to a personal touch with the fireplace mural.....I seem to a lot of these as well. People like to integrate a hobby, love or theme into the area over the stove here there is a Tuscan countryside scene, done in sepia tones.

I am also drawn to this color of blue with the touches of cream and beige. I also love the Union Jack flag! Just a touch of Ole Brit!! The chandelier is a French piece and I love the cow plate over the mantle. There is a fresh bunch of cabbage roses ..... a staple for any French home.

I am also loving the two cabinets on either side of this window and sink. The bookshelves next to these are also lovely. I have to "finish my projects" before I can tackle the kitchen, my hubby says! My scrapbook is growing larger so it will be time to cut and sort before the final plan is rendered. Love the detail of this staircase railing ....... wood & iron, how lovely! The little chair is a unique piece as well.

The look of an evolved chaise and chest. These are the most sought after finishes that I seem to be replicating at the moment when used with a sleeker piece the look is timeless and timeworn. It is a good juxtaposition of new & old brought together and meshed with color and design.

I am loving these shades of blue / gray right now..........
in my own home. And the use of wood washed with a color is also a welcoming look. It is light and airy in a French influenced home. The French look works; something refined paired with something old and aged.

These interior's are by Betty Burgess. This California home which was on the Veranda 2009 April cover is a definite blend of French Country meets Parisian Chic. I love comfort of the velvet sofa with the chicness of the leather chairs. The limestone fireplace is carried up to the enclosed home for the flat screen tele. Add a dash of zebra rug and you have got a fresh, somewhat neutral color palette. The stone limestone flooring also brings in the Parisian feel into the room.

Well,..... this is the ultimate in clean high tech no cooking. Grab your apron & get to cooking! I love the unusual bar stools with a sleek lacquered feeling against the rougher cut stone tiles. The caned French chairs in the kitchen eating room with a contrast to the sleek in the rough hewn beams of the ceiling. In the background the large Carrera marble slabs as a back splash, the La Cornue stainless stove ( the stove of stoves ) all the ingredients of a wonderful recipe. I like the use of a mix of surfaces & materials in the cabinetry...a look that is evolving with even newer homes where I see a mix of finishes in kitchens. I also like the contrast to the sleek white hood that is opposite the rough features of this kitchen.

This restful bedroom is a story in itself. The neutral color palette is definitely for a more restful eye. From the panels to the crown moulding there is a play on neutrals here, even the linens with a contrasting fresh clean white coverlet! And add a dash of age in the wood herringbone parquet flooring. a study in relax! Just a restful room with the upholstered headboard and the lone rustic shelf holding a small bloom.


Garden Skep Art

A page from my art-la-day book which features one work of art every day of the year. This selection was so fitting with the garden theme that is buzzzing around our home this week.
A French School ( 15th century ) * Beehive and Bees, from Grand Herbier, 15th century * Biblioteca Estense, Modena Italy

I do like the skep, and the attention to detail in the busy bees ..... also the notebook reverse scribble / handwriting with the background. Pretty, here below is a stack of skeps ... what a beeutiful idea!

Green Acres

As I am working on my deck space I came across this article from Jim Hanson & Steve Douthit. They live on a 40-acre Minnesota farm. A landscaping job of this size is brought down to a Human scale by personal touches and using structural elements like Gothic-arches in the bricked entrance into the garden.

This section of the garden is extremely formal in planning with the knotted & herbal garden vignettes. Such a contrast in style as just beyond the walls are the lush wild field of prairie grass plains. I think the tip here is that even in the smallest of city gardens you can do pots full of flowers to bring the outdoors in or if you have a patch of earth, one of these square plots would be wonderful and could be as dramatic or simple as you want.

To the right of the property's garden there is an old clapboard shed with an orderly array of plantings and borders of flowers.

This is the garden shed that the duo built to house gardening materials in and around the home. A great building also to offer storage and workspace; it also blocks the view of the road, an added positive. I like the open feeling of the natural sunlight in the roof line. A natural structure that is just awaiting some creative planing to go on.

This shot shows the strung lights from the ceiling as as light source for evenings and entertaining. Lots of pots,antique sprayers and gardening items for the gardener who has it all.
When the acreage was first purchased the duo welcomed the bright heirloom garden plantings that were a welcome to the snowy winters in Minnesota. But after taking a trip to the gardens of Britain and chatting with Rosemary Verey, doyenne of British gardening. A 2 acre plan to take a more formal lined approach and accentuate the standing architecture was born.

A plan which consisted of a 2-acre courtyard and a French style kitchen garden. Full of all the wonderful fruits and vegetables needed to provide these two gourmet cooks with the freshest of ingredients. The brick walls, arches, gates and gardens would add the structures that they were so taken with in England. The twist they would take would be to use more old fashioned plantings and not the expected box woods & formal plantings. The plants would be let to grow with abandon. Here we see Jim picking spinach as Hattie the border collie looks over his shoulder.

The portion of the garden that leads up to the house. This terrace was built to expand the living room, and always thinking ahead kept the plantings low as not to obstruct the view. The white flowers in the courtyard provide a wonderful contrast to the green foliage, especially at night.

As you enter the garden you are met by Pitchfork tines filling two old urn bases that sit atop brick posts.The two are always picking up old garden tools; most for $1-$2 each at auctions and estate sales.

A basket used for tossing pot shards into to keep for covering drainage holes when replanting. Nothing is wasted here, the duo is very aware of being green.

This wall as pretty as it is to look at, does serve a purpose to keep the neighborhood woodchucks out. They were lunching on the apple tree. Then when the wall went up the roots of the tree were strong enough to be trained into espalier. I do love this look, the apples tree outstretched here makes for a lovely pattern.
In the end it is the views that have been framed with walls and structures... the big view when framed is a capture of the big picture and frames the lot;.....just like the rolling estates in England.

Reference photos Country Home with reference to American Island their home furnishings store.


Southern Creole Thrift

Parlange Plantation, the inspiration and basis for Angle Parlange designer. Her Creole Thrift is premium southern living without spending a mint. A renown designer known for her classical design themes. Parlange has operated a successful retail store in New Orleans for over five years, she now consults with corporate and individual clients on lifestyle and design.

Ms.Angele Parlange who grew up at Parlange on False River. Much of her inspiration and drawing from her background has has a major influence on her design business. I myself love the chocolate linen dress paired with the exceptional specimen of a coral necklace! I also love the simplicity of the brown linen against the soft coral necklace shades in pale coral, pink and ivory. The added earrings in punched silvered and encrusted ivory bead add to the simplistic attire. Do I dare say we have a color scheme? Well, I was drawn to the book and her story; Creole Thrift

Parlange on False River was built circa 1750. It is considered the oldest plantation in Louisiana and is a rare example of French colonial architecture. A National Registered landmark, Parlange has remained in-the-family for eight generations - unusual in America.

The love of this particular plantation was one from Angele Parlange's great-great-grandmother. It was her passion and love for the house that outweighed the daily fear of losing it and instilled in the next generations the sense of pride in loving and restoring its history.

Salon at Parlange circa 1930. The fireplace and the original details of the salon. The original mirror and light fixture handed down to the new generation of Parlange.

The salon as it is today. In the oval frame is the portrait of Marie De Ternant Avegno, Marie Viginie's daughter was the Amelie Virginie Avegno Gautreau. The subject of the John Singer Sargent's Madame X. Parlange's mother always said "If only we had the Madame X portrait it would be worth more than this whole plantation."

The bathroom vanity area. The bathroom chair was upholstered in the Madame X fabric design. This design came from the inspiration of Madame X and a portrait from a relative paired with the Barberini Bee lead Parlange to create her own design. I always like to see the personal items showcased in ones bathroom ......it says a lot about some one no???

Calling cards ........ the inspiration behind a line of silk taffeta evening gowns -- in magenta, fuchsia, and raspberry colors with the printed calling card lettering printed onto the fabric.

The names would be in gold and so the fabric was used to upholster the Louis XV and the XVI -style chairs.

The patio at Parlange, then .........

And now .....

A beautiful Venetian glass tray holding purple glass bottles & jars used for holding buds and silver mint julep cups filled with Milk Punch.

Brother Brandon's Milk Punch:

1 2/3 cups cream Simple Syrup: 3 cups sugar

5 cups milk 1 1/2 cups water

2 cups simple syrup (see recipe below)

3 cups sugar

3 tablespoons vanilla

1 fifth of bourbon

Sprinkle nutmeg on top

To make the Simple Syrup: Add the sugar and water to a medium size saucepan. Bring to a boil and let simmer undisturbed for 2 minutes. Cool before using. NOTE: Simple syrup is great to have on hand and you can refrigerate for later use. TO MAKE THE MILK PUNCH: Add all the ingredients in a large bowl, then transfer to a pitcher. Serve neat or over ice. Tip: Put in freezer for about 6 hours for an icier effect

A candid photo of Angele Parlange in the bedroom cutting out place settings from black paper. These were shapes of silhouettes, a bit like playing paper dolls bit without the change of clothes.

Another fun feature in the book is to show different types of Creole thrift. This shower curtain is affectionately called the Tulane vs Louisiana State Shower curtain! The subject matter could be a various type of material. Here, old antique football programs saved by a cousin for years past were used to create such a curtain! I love the resourcefulness of this project. About 3 yrds of Hancock white cotton fabric, a little nudging from a mall transfer booth employee to print some of the sepia toned prints onto fabric rather than mugs & to-go-cups....... a week of waiting and whollah!!! a new type of confidence in the printer and a new sell able item was born! A stop by the local hardware store lead the search to twine to attach the curtain to the rod and the new curtain was complete! Even the smallest things can be accomplished if you believe in the initial idea!

The interior of the BMW cabinet; I have to admit I am a real sucker for those things that are orderly, neat & tidy when it comes to insides of cabinets, my own studio or desk. It just makes for a better way of storing Items & being able to see & get to them. It never hurts to organize in a stylish way! The letter is sealed with a pink wax seal, what a lost art! I love to write hand letters, it is a lost form of communication these days. It seems that everyone loves to get a handwritten letter in the mail, no matter their age.

The BMW cabinet was a find while stopping by a local antique store. I love to pop into local stores just to see what they may have to offer. This 1950 medical cabinet caught the eye and was whisked home for a face lift. The key here is that a search of automotive painters led the new owner to not only a great painting source but the exact sprayed color that she was looking for in a celedon & ivory paint chip from the local BMW painter.

You don't have to be Creole to adhere to Creole Thrift philosophy. Be sure to remember that a hiccup in a project is not considered a failure, but rather an opportunity for something else to grow out of your original intent. Being innovative,resourceful,creative and building on pieces that you already have can make for amazing results and clever outcome! I just really endearingly love this sentiment. To think out of the box and apply original thoughts, styles and executing your ideas.

A descendant of my Creole grandmother who lived at Parlange. The source of Creole blood meant our family was a descendant of the first settlers of New Orleans. French and Spanish bloodlines influenced these settlers. It was where the term-"Creole Thrift" was first uttered and where my own philosophy on fashion and design would be drawn from.

It is this portion of the book that really appealed to me; as an artist there are many faucets of creativity that can be drawn or pulled from inspiration. But it is this philosophy that is so true to my own heart. " Forever on a budget, and preferring premium brands and the real warrior coming out of me when I've less than plenty in my pocket.That's when my most creative and resourceful ideas manifest themselves; even the cats coat looks like more than one pelt.

The seafoam green room here evolved from a sun room that needs to be shot and had been featured in a magazine article not long before the current article was being featured. A walk through a local antique store proved to be the inspiration for the wall of flowers featured in this sun room. A walk through old & new and a stack of old wallpaper prints brought about an entire wall of prints and a color inspired palette for the room & it's furnishings.

One of two pigeonniers. The first was renovated as an office as the other welcomes guests with modern bathrooms, central heat & air and maintenance to update the older structures. A childhood playhouse, hay storage building and now an office and a separate guest house for overnight visitors.

In the past, the guest house has served a functional purpose for housing extra guest of Parlange. Recently the guesthouse has become a personal nesting spot for the homeowner. A cozy space which has been inhabited by Ladybugs. Being greeted by the Ladybugs has been a welcome greeting to guests and residents alike. So, until the next set of guests arrive the casual spot is used for reading, lounging and Chinese Ladybugs.

The newly recovered sofa in the pigeonnier. A love of pinks in solids and patterns serve as the color palette.

In the entry of the pigeonnier with French animal prints and a couple of chairs with the signature pink fabrics that are loved colors of the homeowners.

The sleeping area in the pigeonnier. A recently redecorated space in Parlange. Books now line the wooden shelves where pigeons once roosted.

A wonderful section of the book was the "Not for the birds" ..... a wonderful original Pigeonnier at the house "Parlange". The brother of the designer took a couple of years off from his civil engineering firm to complete a major renovation at Paralange. A sidenote on pigeonnier's is in early French colonial architecture, these structures were built for raising squab, young pigeon, which was considered a delicacy. These buildings though rare and incredible included built-in wooden nesting shelves for the birds as well as square openings that encircled the building so that the birds could fly in and out at will. Not only are they lovely but they are important as architectural interests in early houses with French influence.

Shopping at Heritage Antiques in New Roads, Louisiana. For the designer it is the mixture of textures, colors, and shapes that really gets her adrenaline going. A vintage wire bar cart can become a wonderful bar accessory. This is true as the first cushion she ever made was inspired from a skirt; a second cushion was the inspiration behind a pair of shoes purchased in London.

This is the guest bed is covered in a brocade butter yellow & subtle lilac color in the bedding and draperies. The chandelier is placed in the middle of the teester's center board of the bedframe. A find from a trip to London which was dug out of the melted plastic bubble wrap it had been encased in for years. The netting sheared fabic cascades from the ceiling and down the posts of the bedframe tied loosely in a knot at the base of the carved bed post.

The vanity in the guest room. Two flamingo / island style people from the coco cabana hang inder two antique French sconces.
The hand painted vanity features the personal items you may forget when traveling. The upholstered chair is covered in a complimentary red fabric.

I love how she displays on a wall the purses and the cards and letters from loved ones. Too many times though it looks aesthetically pleasing to the eye.....some of our most personal spaces should look personal, right? I like the display of her favorite things along with the color they inject into her closet.

This bed in the master bedroom in a great contrast to the sheer fabric above the bedframe. I also like the bench below the foot of the bed with a line up of shoes. I like that this is an inherited piece and like so many pieces that we get handed to us from relatives she made it work with her own style. The two more recent Venetian glass mirrors hanging on the wall and the toile slipcovered bench. An original Battenburg lace bedding was replaced with a white piqu'e bedspread, embroidered aqua crowns which were inspired by her great-grandmother's calling cards. How personal is that?
To me my love of orange in many tones & shades is homage to my own grandmother's favorite color.

A picture of Ange'le with some "road kill": questionable furniture and curiosities other people throw out by the roadside for the lucky collector. She transforms the big brown furniture; or the pieces that are inherited and need to be explored in a different light - what Ange'le calls reappraisal, or for the politically correct, recycling! To Angel'e both roadkill & big brown furniture can be transformed into new & refurbished pieces. Spend some time with a can of spraypaint, carpenter's glue or a little cocktail napkin with doodles and turn a little creativity into a productive and accomplished day. I have been guilty of using road kill in the past, and even picking up the yard sale find. It is a fun & exciting way to find a real gem and add the personal touches to your decor style. It does not have to be a Picasso that was unearthed from a surburban basement ....... to pull at your soul. Inspiration can be found in so many places. Retail, show rooms, antiques stores, online shopping, estate sales & yes even the side of the road!

Creole Thrift by Ange'le Parlange for Harper Collins Books