Archive for the 'Shopping' Category

14
Dec
07

IMA Holiday Open Greenhouse

Old Friends

A trip to the Indianapolis Museum of Art Greenhouse as a Christmas tradition? Yep. The Greenhouse is open for business year round whenever the museum is, but two Thursday evenings in December the Greenhouse folks, like my friend Lynne above, roll out a therapeutically warm and life-filled holiday welcome. You can pop into the final Open House of the season next Thursday, December 20 (free, open till 8:00 p.m.). It makes a great date night venue.

Warm Greeting

I love the subtle details. This year simple candles burning in the snow were at the gates. In the past, it was red fabric lanterns with tea lights inside.

If you think an emphasis on nature limits your color palette to sage and brown, the Greenhouse staff is ready to blow your mind. I’m thinking about buying this metal tree and all of its ornaments for our house so I can make it through the February and March blahs.

Aviary Tree

Ornaments

If you look closely you can see the guitar player through the window.

IMA Greenhouse

I’ll always need a plant and a smiling-person-pick-me-up to brighten my spirits when winter is bearing down on me. Sue, Lynne, and the Greenhouse crowd always hook me up with both.

Pretty

Oldfields, the IMA’s American Country Place era estate of which the Greenhouse is a part, is open for free that Thursday, too. The grounds are lit so that you can enjoy the gardens at night. Cold as it was outside, winding through the endless luminaria trails was a calming way to end a typically wild December day.

Oldfields Formal Garden

On the Grounds

On the Grounds

11
Dec
07

The Holiday Pickins at Sullivan Hardware

Wildflower Home
(Dave, doing his best “discrminating shopper.”)

A few years back Sullivan Hardware, an old Indy standard, opened a store at Keystone and 71st. Their new place features Wildflower Home, a stand alone cottage which carries their home dec stuff and product that Dave and Ken really like. I’ve been pretty ambiguous about the place. They have a few nice things, sort of pricey. I would normally put it into the “lots of potential” category, but this time around I liked more of what I saw.

I still think I may have to make this wreath work somewhere in our house. Kitchen maybe?

Wildflower Home Wreath

And for some reason I love this metal deer head. Dave suggested it might look good on our back porch. I think it could look equally great in an all white modern space or a cabin. How about a kid’s treehouse?

Metal Deer Head

There’s typically plenty of real greenery around here, but actual berries can be hard to find. These Winterberry branches were really nice.

Winterberry

And I loved the painted branches, too. Would be worth the five or so bucks not to have to choke on the fumes.

Painted Branches

This train is the kind of thing kids will remember when they are older.Train Station

The only sour note was when it was my turn to check out at the hardware store. A random couple from Brownsburg (for some reason they announced their origins when they waltzed through the door) approached my guy and said they wanted their Christmas tree. And instead of calling someone or smiling and saying, “you’re welcome to get in line” or “I’ll be with you in a moment” he just walked away to help them, leaving me standing there. After watching him futz around with them for a few minutes and waiting longer than I should have, I finally put my stuff down and left. Dave told me I should have said something, but sometimes (admittedly, not often) I just don’t feel up to arguing.So if you aren’t in a hurry and need some greenery (or red-ery), a free bag of popcorn, or a few interesting holiday things, you may want to stop into Sullivan.

09
Dec
07

Holiday Hoopla on Mass Ave

John and I stayed in our ‘hood Friday night and strolled through Holiday Hoopla on our favorite street in Indy– Massachusetts Avenue.

Fire Pit at Holiday Hoopla

With fire pits set up along the street, no one had to worry about staying warm. I’ve never seen fire this close to art before. All those years in art museums had me feeling a little nervous about it, but I’m sure the sculpture was perfectly safe.

We’re really happy with the way upper Mass Ave is shaping up.

Patrick Wasson

We got to pop in for the opening of our friend Patrick’s winter show, which is really nice. Patrick was an intern at the IMA when I was there, and I enjoy following his career.

Patrick and Kirs

Here he is with Kris, his sweet partner and manager of our favorite store on Mass Ave – Home in the City (at Silver in the City). Totally fun, cool, and beautiful home goods and jewelry. If I ever need any kind of gift, I stop there first. It’s a special place to John and me because we got our wedding rings there.

Best Chocolate In Town

Just a few doors down we stopped in to visit with Elizabeth, owner of The Best Chocolate in Town (or BCT as we call it).

Seriously, how cute is she?Best Chocolate in Town

And her shop’s name ain’t no lie. John got a Champagne and a Lemon Chiffon truffle. I got one of the awesome chocolaty, pepperminty, crunchy, crackly cookie thingies she’s showing here. It was crazy tasty. 

We popped down to Chatham Tap Pub for dinner (great drinks, meh fish and chips, downright decent seafood bisque) and got caroled while we ate. Yummm…tuba.

Chatham Tap Pub

We’re going to tap the Tap again some Sunday night, the only night they serve Yorkshire pudding (yum).On the way back to our car we stopped in at Jill Ditmire’s Mass Avenue Wine Shoppe for a bottle of organic port I’d spotted earlier.

Mass Ave Wine Shoppe

The selection at Jill’s place is great. Boxed dinners are coming soon, and they sound awesome! John and I were surprised, however, to see that they made a point of advertising that they serve Atkins Cheesecake. Jeanne Atkins, owner of Atkins Elegant Desserts went on record that she would prefer to see her comatose gay son never recover than return to life with his partner of 25 years.

Obviously, Atkins is anathema to most Indy gay folks. I let the very nice woman who waited on us know that they may want to reconsider carrying her products. She seemed surprised to hear that their cheesecake was controversial. As much of a local celebrity as Jill is, I would be surprised if she missed the media coverage of the Atkins story, but I’m going to give her the benefit of the doubt for now. 

Art, fire pits, carolers, good food, friendly faces, ice sculptures, and an awesome honey to see it all with! The bleak midwinter isn’t so bleak after all.

16
Apr
07

A Store I Love: Country Friends

If you read this blog much, you’ll realize that while I’m crazy about all kinds of design, our own home tends towards the “not new” (I stopped using the word “traditional” during an episode of the Sopranos when Carmella used the term to describe the white leather and chrome-gilded mobster haven she and Tony called home.)

Outdoor Table and Chairs

(Outdoor table and four chairs I have my eye on. $199.00.)

I don’t know why I like what I do. I could try to figure out why old furniture, flowers, lots of color, gardens, cushy chairs, woodstoves, holidays, etc., appeal to me, but I don’t really care. I’m a big fan of metacognition, but over thinking design is one of the easiest ways I know to kill a good look.Fortunately though, there is a store made for people like me: Country Friends. Saying the name embarrasses me, but I’d be lying if I said it isn’t the first place in Indianapolis that I go when I need a perfect “something”—for a gift, to fill a floral container, for the front door, to help set the table.

Bird Bath

(A bronze birdbath we bought for John’s dad. I liked the forked base that makes it easy to relocate.)

Dave, another Friends-o-phile, and I typically make four official pilgrimages a year—Easter time (for spring and summer), early fall (Halloween and Thanksgiving), before Christmas and after Christmas. And then there are a few trips for random gifts or decorative dilemmas.Many people I know won’t go there. John refuses to darken the door. The place is PACKED with stuff, a look and shopping experience that a lot of people don’t enjoy. And there’s no shortage of kitsch, which doesn’t bother me. For whatever reason, I have a healthy respect for kitschy things as long as they’re sincere.

Michael and Sheila

(Michael and Sharon)

Plus the owner Michael, who started the business 22 years ago in Muncie, is a little manic and loud, but I love him. He buys fun stuff constantly and a lot of it, so if you are willing to spend some time you can usually find what you need. The staff is super friendly. They asked about my mom three months after she came to visit one time. I like that in a store.

08
Mar
07

Goodbye Winter Buffet

Buffet

Finally time to start thinking about the transition to spring. This wasn’t my favorite winter buffet design. I don’t think it ever really came together. But it did get me through the season and looking at it reminded me of some good people and times.

Close up

-From left to right, the candle was a Christmas present from John.
-The plate stand was from a trip to Target with Dave.
-The Nautica earthenware was an outlet find of John’s (10 place settings and all of the serving pieces for $110.00) on one of our old trips to Branson.
-Mercury ball and the “C” were birthday presents from Dave. The “C” (a Dave original) is for Claire and is wood painted to look like b and w damask. Little cardinal was a Dave Christmas present.
-Sweet red box was part of a Christmas present from Lori.
-The lamp was “at the auction” with John’s mom.
-The runner was on the bargain table at Williams Sonoma as was the mistletoe garland (from Country Friends).

Sometimes good memories can overcome so-so design.

21
Feb
07

At WS Home

Dave, Ken and I tromped through the snow for a Williams-Sonoma Home fix. I love this store because even though it is small, the number of chairs that actually feel as smart as they look is impressive.

Once John and I went to Kittles, an “upscale” furniture store here in Indy with a sales floor so large they must measure it in acres. Aside from being exhausted from the walk (we never did find the tram), I sat in fifty chairs and the most comfortable one was a folding metal number near the sales counter.

Dave is a fluffer

This highback mini-sofa (not full length, yet not a love seat either) at WSH was quite nice, however (wish I’d gotten a profile view). It hits you in all the right places. I sat all over it. Dave, good retail guest that he is, fluffed the pillows back up after I squashed them.

As I took this photo the sales person told us about a family that came in at Christmas time. They had someone take their picture in one of their designed room vignettes. She could tell they were going to pass it off as their family’s holiday card (“… such a great year for us.”)

I was horrified that someone would do this. Then I decided Ken and I should have our picture taken in one of their designed vignettes. I chose a couple of chairs (again, SO comfortable) with David Hicks-ish fabric. For effect I picked up a candle holder to sub as a pony glass and closed my eyes to make it look completely candid. No one would believe we weren’t “at home with Ken Paul.”

At home with Ken Paul

The next time friends send you a photo holiday card in which they look suspiciously prosperous you may want to look for the price tags.