By Valerie Foster
For five lucky women, Monday night is their weekly chance to talk, laugh, share and enjoy the food experiments du jour that Selma Miriam has been busy perfecting. For Miriam, Monday is her day to try out new recipes — add a pinch of this, a touch of that — and ultimately, create food that will appear at her vegetarian Bridgeport restaurant, Bloodroot.
Like Bloodroot, this weekly gathering has been around for years. Guests start arriving every Monday around 7 p.m. at Miriam’s Westport home: her life partner, Carolanne Curry; business partner, Noel Furie; Maya Davidson, who’s designed the Bloodroot cookbooks and annual calendars; and Elva Skrensky, an across-the-street neighbor for more than four decades.
Miriam’s life revolves around community building, not just at home but in her restaurant, which is celebrating 34 years in business. It’s this feeling of community that keeps locals returning to Bloodroot, and keeps these five women holding Monday nights at Miriam’s sacred.
Archive for the ‘General’ Category
By Valerie Foster
These outdoor Brown Jordan pillows, featured at Seasons Too in Darien, can do just that with their tranquil, summery hues. Just look at the turquoise on the ottoman-style pillows to the right. Isn’t is divine? (Although that shot with the clear blue water and palm trees in the background certainly doesn’t hurt matters.)
But if you don’t like these fabrics, Brown Jordan has a selection of more than 196 from which to choose, including matelesse, jacquards, exquisite Italian finds, and a solid and stripe collection that allows you mix-and-match.
They’re appropriate for long-term outdoor use, so don’t worry if you forget to bring them inside at night. It won’t be the end of the world.
Seasons Too, 836 Post Road, Darien, (203) 655-8444, www.seasonstoo.com
By Kerry Ann Mendez
Annuals provide full throttle color in gardens spring through fall. Get them out of their containers in May, park them in the correct light with some time-released fertilizer such as Plant-Tone, and get out of their way as they accelerate to non-stop color. They are especially prized in shade gardens where late summer flower color from perennials is less intense. Gardeners are like kids in a toyshop looking for new gadgets, bells and whistles. So let’s peek into the toy chest and see what annuals are arriving at garden centers this spring.
By Alice Kenny
Julie Marcus sips tea in her new “mom cave,” an outdoor room nestled in the hillside and bordered with fieldstone, hostas and fern beds. Her hidden get-away is just a small detail in what at first glance looks like an outdoor resort complete with movie theater, pool, kitchen and living areas. Actually, this is the family’s “outdoor home” artfully landscaped into the backyard of their one-acre plot on a busy New Canaan road.
Meanwhile, Mathew Berger grills rib-eye steaks on his outdoor Viking grill. It’s built into his bluestone patio complete with sunken hot tub, adjacent stainless steel beverage cooler, outdoor living room and patio heaters. The feel is of a country retreat. But the reality is that this outdoor oasis is in the backyard of his family’s quarter-acre Fairfield property.
Whether wedged into the back of a quarter acre or spread out on more, the trend toward turning backyards into outdoor fantasies is growing throughout Southwestern Connecticut. Neglected backyards once dominated by badminton nets and crab grass are transformed into real estate assets and five-star vacations. Continue reading
The bubbles suspended below the surface of this one-of-a-kind Vela Bowl by Simon Pearce bear a striking resemblance to raindrops. In fact, the entire piece manages to capture the soothing freshness of a spring rain – one of nature’s greatest gifts, in my eyes.
The craftsmen at Simon Pearce use centuries-old glassblowing techniques to capture these bubbles within the glass, and concentric circles and an asymmetrical edge lend the bowl even greater visual intrigue.
It would be exquisite displayed alone, or could be used to serve condiments, caviar, or fruit. (The glass is lead-free.)
Due to its handmade nature, the specific dimensions may vary. $495. Simon Pearce Retail Store, 170 Main Street, Westport, CT, (203) 226-2353. www.simonpearce.com.
It seemed so simple when we started. All my husband and I wanted to do was to remove the small rocks that were sticking up out of the back yard lawn. They looked like the tips of icebergs and, besides tripping over them, it made mowing the grass more difficult. We didn’t realize these rocks were, in fact, huge boulders living under the lawn.
Thank goodness my husband, Dennis, is a big, strong, athletic guy. His brother is made of the same stuff. Together, Dennis and Bruce started digging out the rocks with a couple of pry bars. I helped, too. The first couple of rocks weren’t so bad and they came out without much trouble. But, to our surprise, once we peeled the top of the lawn back, we found that there wasn’t much soil. It was all construction dirt and large boulders. Evidently, when our house was first built in 1775, they must have dug a large pit and buried all the rocks and stones that they removed to create the cellar. There were only a couple of inches of soil on top. It was no wonder why our grass didn’t grow well!
We started the project last year during that unusual hot, dry summer when the temperatures averaged in the mid nineties for weeks on end. It was bad timing on our part. At any point we could have stopped and hired someone to finish, but we’re stubborn. Once we began, we felt we had to see it to the end. Every night when we came home from work and all weekend long, we worked on removing these boulders. Some of them were so large that Dennis and Bruce took turns hitting them with a sledgehammer to break them into pieces. They whacked them thirty to forty times before the rock would finally split. Even so, each piece still weighed about 200 pounds. Using the pry bars for leverage, we’d get them out of the ground, roll them into a wheelbarrow and drive it up the hill where we dumped them in a pile over the edge of a ravine. It went on for weeks.
In the end, we managed to remove most of the rocks. We purchased a truckload of topsoil that we raked over the void and flattened with a rented lawn roller. It was seeded, watered and our grass grew in after a couple of weeks. Some of the rocks we removed were added to the stone walls that ring the property. But there are plenty left to build another small wall. I still can’t believe we actually did this. In retrospect, we should have hired someone with a bulldozer. It would have been done in a couple of days. Oh, well…live and learn!
At 13.75 inches in height, it could be perfect as a foot rest, a spot to place your drink, or even extra seating for guests in a pinch. The cedar may even help keep the bugs at bay! Sounds like a deal to me.
$3,502, Mis en Scene, 34 East Putnam Avenue, Greenwich, (203) 422-0567. www.misenscenegreenwich.com
When I saw this lounge chair, found at Design Within Reach in Westport, I knew it was just the piece to do that.
The magnificent tangerine color of this lounge chair is nothing short of a condensed dose of sunshine. (Granted, as I write this, it’s 7:30 a.m. and thunder is BOOMING outside my home and rain is pouring down as if dumped from small buckets in the sky, but pieces like this remind me the sun will once again shine.)
The chair is part of the Lucca collection manufactured by the Barcelona-based outdoor furniture company, Indecasa, which specializes in aluminum products. But the teak armrests give the piece a slightly more organic feel.
The Lucca collection was created, according to product literature, with luxury hotels and cruise ships in mind.
The chair is cleanly fabricated with a corrosion-resistant aluminum frame and Textilene seat and back, which are woven in a triple twist pattern to create a large, textured weave. This mesh permits air circulation, and is both mold- and UV-resistant.
Normally $1,600 – currently on sale for $1,360. Design Within Reach, 36 Elm Street, Westport, (203) 227-9707. www.dwr.com