Swimming in a Pool of Fashion

If you are not six feet tall, don’t have to eat cheeseburgers and French fries for a week just to become a size zero again, or don’t feel comfortable walking around in four inch Jimmy’s all day, better skip the real life catwalk of Avenue Montaigne in the 8th.  The 6th is your style nirvana.  Sure, you may get a little extra attention exiting your exotic, dripping with accessories and escorted by a security detail.  I, however, exiting my Vélib’, dripping with sweat, escorted by my shorts wearing husband and sorbet-stained five year old, still received plenty of largess.

Sonya, Louis, Hermy – all my friends are here.  The end of June also marks the start of the six-week summer sale season.  Oh falling Euro rejoice!  Don’t forget to visit the Hermès boutique (built in an art deco swimming pool) or Bon Marché, Gustave Eiffel’s tower of shopping.  Have your husband (or lover) get a cut and shave downstairs, while you frequent the nail bar on the first floor in preparation for visiting the shoe department under the magnificent dome upstairs.  Need some energy – grab an espresso and pastry at Rose bakery.

After a daylong shopping frenzy, sit with the other tourists (Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Gainsbourg, and most of the locals have long departed) at Brasserie Lipp, Les Deux Magots, or Café de Flore, order a café crème and contemplate your credit card bill while watching the world go by.  Or, if you were really successful and are maybe a little homesick, don your new duds, snag a table at Ralph’s and order a Ralph’s burger. 


A Fascination in Furstenberg

If you happen to be in Paris in spring, don’t miss the four extravagantly blooming Paulownias in the charmingly picturesque Place de Furstenberg.  If you are there any other time, don’t skip a visit to the equally charming Yveline.  With a keen curated vision, objets d’art fill the three rooms drawing one to the usual pièce de résistance in the back.  I, as usual, want everything.


Daydreaming at Deyrolle

There are few places in Paris better to enjoy a jet-lagged neural enhancement than Deyrolle.  Somewhat politically incorrect, but entirely mesmerizing and enchanting, this treasure trove of taxidermy is, without doubt, one of my favorite stores - anywhere.  Heart-wrenchingly beautiful fauna from around the globe populates this emporium appearing magically transported from its natural environs and frozen in time. 

Fancy a baby elephant, perhaps a zebra or a gazelle – better grab an extra large basket beside the till.  Special order a giraffe or polar bear, how about a darling baby ocelot or penguin or one of hundreds of a kaleidoscope of songbirds?  Don’t fret, young American, you can’t bring any of these back stateside without risking a full body cavity search at US customs (honest officer, I don’t have any ostrich eggs, would you please stop looking).

I think I may have already ruined my five year old, as she spent about an hour enthralled in the second floor back room.  Here, hundred of specimen cases, display thousands upon thousands of insects with inexplicable precision.  From butterflies and spiders as large as your hand, to centipedes and beetles you could collar and take for a walk, the intricacies of these arthropoda amaze while also giving me the heebie-jeebies.

There are a few other taxidermy specialty stores in Paris including Galerie Chardon, Design et Nature and Claude Nature, but Deyrolle is tops.

The Perfect Prescription

Searching for best remedy to stave off the summer doldrums of Savannah?  How about summer in Paris?  That’s right, while the Parisians are trading city for sea, this Savannahian is trading sea for the city. 

After the past few months of back office backlog, animated accounting, and POS BS, I’m more than ready for a healthy dose of my muse.  Eschewing my penchant for the grande hotel, I’ve instead settled on an apartment in the 6th arrondissement.  My husband is worried that this is my attempt to slowly transition to full-time Paris living, but I know he secretly harbors the same dream.

Up at the crack of noon (okay, so I’m not so good with jetlag), croissant from Polâine in hand (how can butter and flour combine so impossibly), strolling through the plane tree filtered sun of the Luxembourg gardens – ahhh, this is going to be the best summer ever!  


making memorials

In the olden days, people called Memorial Day Decoration Day. Families visited graves and memorials, paid their respects to the war dead and adorned these sites with flowers. We believe the date was chosen as so much of our country is in bloom in late May.

In the modern age (that's us), we also mark the official start of summer, we approve the wearing of whites and we fly the American flag at half mast from dawn until noon.
my maternal grandfather, floyd e. johnson, 1909-1999, charlottesville, virginia

I've come to think of the holiday as a time to recall our personal and national history.  I use the day to tell the children about their extended and distant family. I tell them the basics, the legends and the lies (let's don't let the truth get in the way of a good story!)  As a child, my father amused and taught with stories whose characters came straight out of Big Fish or The World's Largest Man; that's entertainment. And to pull all these sentiments together, last year, my sister sent me this New York Times article that suggests that families that tell family stories stick together longer and better.

In the last ten years, my husband and I start one selected project on or about Mother's Day. We garden, plant trees or flowers, build something.  Sometimes we finish in a day, but we often finish on or about Memorial Day. Then we go fishing as a family.

Of course, all the fish take our sorry, undersized bait as soon as it hits the water. We spend all day and half the night passing the pole between our muscle fatigued arms. The monster won't tire!  The sand gnats swarm in island sized clouds. We land the beast on deck just in time before the tidal waters disappear. We've narrowly escaped being beached and with a hearty supper that will feed all of Vernonburg! True story!
2010: springhouse roof redux, 2013, spring house "porch", 2014 springhouse vertical garden, 2015 potting bench, sink (wip)
Also true, it strikes me as I write this post that I am making memorials to my family, passed (in service to our country or simply in service to our family) and present. I pay homage to Savannah and to the life that I am carving out. I'm also creating a standing memorial that refers to the past, present and future. Our projects are informed by and honors those around us, some dear, some strangers. Both the making and the associated story helps us to create our own traditions and to recall some part of our past.

I'm looking forward to torturing my children with history and projects this entire month, but especially on Memorial Day. Whose story will you tell? Who will you honor and what form will that endeavor take?
plant in vertical garden adopted from lynn serualla + adam kuehl in turtle shell found by family in the georgia woods 

Blogging this week for The Paris Market, artist and collaborative designer katherine sandoz makes abstract paintings, fiber arts, illustration, portraits and collaborative works of art in a barn behind her home in Savannah, Georgia. The flora and fauna of the low-country serve as fodder for her imagery. Sandoz, a former service member herself, is moved and inspired by soldiers and warriors of all kinds and times.  


mother's day scrip

You want to ride boldly and with confidence into Sunday on a white horse and avoid your moms thinking you're a bit of a jackass.  Please take to heart two from the list below. Then call Paris Market in the morning to make a plan of action. Mother's Day is this SUNDAY, 5-10-15!

1.  Moms do NOT want sensible pajamas or sugary edibles. Ever. Really.
2.  Find a beautiful basket/receptacle/vessel. Yes. We always can appreciate and/or use another.
3.  Think themes or interests and fill that basket up. Nothing need be over the top. Thoughtful is the answer.
available at paris market: baskets, candles, fine linens, tabletop goods, air plants (not pictured)

a. reading + learning
b. arts + crafts
c. gardening
d. tabletop
e. teatime
f. travel inspiration
g. home decor

4.  Including one flower element is advised (dried, cut, potted, paper).  Consider researching the flower that symbolically best suits the mom you are appreciating.
5.  One hand-made element is compulsory. Take the time to help the children (if applicable) make or write something. Take double the time to do so if you are the partner/spouse/child/grandchild leading the household's efforts.
6.  Remind the household that parents should be made aware, in word and deed, of your gratitude often and throughout the year.

Blogging this week for The Paris Market, artist and collaborative designer katherine sandoz makes abstract paintings, fiber arts, illustration, portraits and collaborative works of art in a barn behind her home in Savannah, Georgia. The flora and fauna of the low-country serve as fodder for her imagery. Katherine's favorite month of the year is May.


a haphazard gardener

I have a May-December relationship with gardening.  By that I mean, most of the gardening I do happens in May and December.  The rest of the year, I do when I can which is often on the fly and between a million other projects I'm seeding, hoeing and harvesting.

Not exactly a student of almanacs and catalogs,  I'm the kind who throws last year's seed packets into the frost bitten plants to see if anything will happen. 

I have a bunch of "plants-with history" adopted from or given by friends and neighbors.  One is titled "don't-pay-attention-to-me-cactus." I also appreciate the garden-in-a-bag available at The Paris Market. If you have the bag, there's no more looking for flats, seeds or soil. Where is my watering can anyway?  
available at the paris market: garden in a bag
I truly appreciate these one-stop-shop-garden-bags as gifts.  They seem to send a message:  English Thyme (git you some time! or English?),  Sage! (you're so smart!)  French Marigold (perfect for my niece named Marigold).  I want to send one or five to everyone I know.
available at the paris market: egyptian cotton throw
But then I'd have less time to ignore my cactus which I really don't ignore at all.  I spend every single month of  the year appreciating my sometimes unruly, but always loved garden.

Blogging this week for The Paris Market, artist and collaborative designer katherine sandoz makes abstract paintings, fiber arts, illustration, portraits and collaborative works of art in a barn behind her home in Savannah, Georgia. The flora and fauna of the low-country serve as fodder for her imagery. If she were not a full-time artist, Sandoz would be a plant burglar.