Sunday, September 22, 2013

Sunday, Afternoon Classics: Happy Autumn.

Welcome to Autumn. This post went live at 3:44 p.m. CDT, the exact start of the new season (I am a sucker for precision). It seemed somehow wrong to do a Sunday morning post for Autumn when it didn't begin until the afternoon.

 As many of you may already know Autumn is my favourite season so I am quite excited to finally be in this season. The weather is starting to chill, the daylight will begin its decline and the leaves have begun their change into a fabulous Autumn fire.

To commemorate this new season we have as today's classical selection "Danza Pastorale" (Autumn) from Vivaldi's "The Four Seasons"...appropriate no? This piece is played by Julia Fisher as lead violin, she is accompanied by The Academy of St. Martin in The Fields from London. The video, which is quite beautiful, was shot at The National Botanical Gardens of Wales, please enjoy.

Have a Happy Autumn everyone,

Friday, September 20, 2013

An Autumn Fabric Primer.

Autumn is very nearly upon us, the 22nd of September to be precise, and it is my absolute favourite time of year, honestly, whats not to like about it? The temperatures are cooling, the days will start getting shorter, the trees are set ablaze in stunning shades of red orange yellow and gold and best of all the fact that we can once again bring forth the Autumn wardrobe. Wool and flannels and tweeds oh my!

Perhaps you need a few new pieces for Autumn, perhaps you are looking for a style change and need to put together a new wardrobe for the season or perhaps you already have a full Autumn wardrobe but still find a need for a great new piece or two...or three  (however very thin the reason may be, my wife can provide a few choice words about this). No matter the reason you may not know all the appropriate fabrics and patterns that are perfect for this time of year.

Here is a good checklist for all your Autumn clothing needs...or wants.

Beyond clothing, all of these fabrics can very easily be used for the majority of your interior design fabric needs. I have created many a herringbone and houndstooth pillows for my clients. I've also upholstered many a sofa and chair in saxony and shetland tweed, done a few tattersall table skirts and upholstered a gentlemens study in wool flannel.

While this by no means covers the full spectrum of colours or patterns this will certainly get you started. Though not listed here, my favourite Autumn wardrobe fabric is Harris Tweed (expect a post about it next week), my Harris Tweed blazer collection will attest to this...and so will my wife...and so will my very full closet. My second favourite is tartans, which I'll be doing a post about in a couple of weeks. What is your favourite, or new favourite, fabric for the season?


Sunday, September 15, 2013

Sunday Morning Classics.

Good morning all. It is a rainy chilly morning here in Chicago, so obviously I love it. Last week you my remember that my Sunday Morning Classic selection for last week was a piece of music that I had first connected with on the show M.A.S.H. (if you don't remember, see it HERE).

For today's selection I've decided to continue with a bit of a theme and choose a piece that was used in one of my favourite movies, Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World. I fell in love with this movie instantly, how couldn't I? The British Royal Navy, the Napoleonic War, ship to ship battles...and classical music? Forget about it! The movie is based on the the Aubrey-Martin Series by Patrick O'Brian, a series of 20 nautical historical novels, all a fabulous read that I highly recommend.

While there are many to pick from today's selection from that wonderful movie is Mozart's "Violin Concerto No. III in G Major, K 216. Rondo - Allegro" (Rondo means the final movement). The video I found for the piece is quite interesting. The lead violinist is the extremely talented Hilary Hahn but make sure to pay attention to her audience. My absolute favourite part comes at the 3:20 mark. Please enjoy.


Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Farrow & Ball's New 2013 Colours.

Farrow & Ball was started in the 1930's in Wimborne Minster, Dorset, England, by John Farrow and Richard Ball and the paint is still made in their factory in Dorset. The company has worked with the National Trust of Historic Interest and Natural Beauty of the UK, in formulating near to exact matches for the restoration of historic buildings interiors and exteriors. Their paint can be found in many historic houses and museums throughout Europe.

Today many interior designers, yours truly included, have a deep love affair with Farrow & Ball paint. The majority of that love comes from the fact that they have some of the richest colours on Earth. My personal love also comes from the fact that their colours have a real heritage to them.Their paint is water based with high levels of pigment, rich resin binders and a high refractory nature of key ingredients that give their product a signature immersive depth of colour. Let me be the first to tell you that it is almost impossible to match their colours through other companies (as I am sure many many designers, painters and myself have tried). Regretfully our love affair often goes unrequited as it can sometimes be difficult to convince clients that it is worth (and it totally is) spending $100 per gallon on paint. Oh the trials and tribulations of being an interior designer.

But I digress, yesterday the company released their nine new colours for 2013 and they are of course wonderful. Please have a look at their new offerings.

Nancy's Blushes No. 278

Ammonite No. 274

Stiffkey Blue No. 281

Mole's Breath No. 276

Dimpse No. 277

Wevet No. 273

St. Giles Blue No. 280

Purbeck Stone No. 275

Yellowcake No. 279

Pretty nice right? What is your favourite? Wanna guess what my favourite is? Come know you want to.


Sunday, September 8, 2013

Sunday Morning Classics.

Welcome to the second Sunday in September. By the way I tell time that means that it is now exactly two weeks until Autumn...yay!

For this mornings selection we have a piece of music that has been very dear to me for many many years that has a (somewhat) interesting back story. Growing up I was a huge fan of the show M.A.S.H., still am in all honesty. My favourite time in the show was later in the series when Col. Potter arrived but more importantly was the addition of Maj. Charles Emerson Winchester III. I'm sure that admission has shocked and surprised many of you ....alright, maybe not...alright, probably not in the slightest little bit at all.

Those of you that know the show know of Winchesters love of classical music, it was one of the things that kept him sane whist the chaos of war swirled around him. In the final episode, the best final episode of all time I might add, he meets a group of Chinese musicians who surrender to him oddly enough. He starts working with the musicians to teach them Mozart's "Clarinet Quintet in A Major, K. 581" (see where I'm going with this?). Ultimately the musicians are sent back in a prisoner exchange but their convoy is attacked and the musicians die, the last one just before he is being brought back to the 4077th. Winchester was the one to see the man and it wounds him deeply finding out that they had all perished. He goes back to his tent and plays the record of the song he was teaching them, only to become angered and destroy the record.

For Winchester the very thing that had been his salvation during the war had suddenly become an extremely bittersweet reminder of it. The lesson I took from this is that anything we hold close can be forever altered in a split second in ways that are quite beyond our control. We should all remember that life is a fluid movement of time and circumstance that can takes us places we never wanted to go, never knew existed and can sometimes never come back from. Embrace those changes, learn from them, find the joy in them no matter how bad they may sometimes seem.

Mozart's Clarinet Quintet in A Major, K. 581 is an absolutely beautiful piece of music, I hope you enjoy it. This recording is the entire piece in all four movements, even if you just listen to the Allegro (the first 9 minutes 21 seconds) you will not be disappointed.


Monday, September 2, 2013

Downton Cometh!

Anyone who knows me very well knows that I am an absolute thrall of Downton Abbey. If you are as devoted to the show as I, and as deeply in love with it, then you were left utterly stunned at the end of last season. As such, you, like me, have been desperately awaiting so much as the slightest inkling of new information on season 4, a lone still of the Dowager Countess, a  five second soundbite....any bloody thing.


This is going to have to hold us for awhile though (at least until the next trailer anyway). Downton won't return to PBS until the 5th of January, 2014. Yes yes I know, just suck it up. We'll get through this together.


Sunday, September 1, 2013

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