Week in Athens

I hope you are doing something fun today–I am!  I love a long weekend.  But I’ve been doing some work to catch up from spending so much time in Athens, GA, last week.  My son attended a camp at the university and I decided to hang around the town until it was time to pick him up.  I holed up at the library working on a special woman’s 60th-birthday scrapbook and hit parks and gardens and shops and such.  Once home, I painted in the evenings, gearing up for Scott’s…next week!  Yikes.  Here is some randomness from my week:

Breakfast at the counter–what can be more fun?  We ate at The Grit lots last week, mmm.


A nice black & white VCT floor.


Chevy pavers and sparkle Chucks.


A little shopping at Heery’s on the corner of College and Clayton, which is chockful of fun labels I don’t normally try on.  Thank you, Heery’s, for having a box of toys by the dressing rooms.


The Athens Arby’s has their retro sign–a blast from my past.  I was a beef-&-cheddar Arby’s girl growing up.  We drove to the next town over for our roast beef at the Arby’s with this sign.  I prayed to God that one would open near our house.  My prayers were answered.


Happy Memorial Day!  See you tomorrow…are you making it an Arby’s night?


C’mere, let me give you a hug and a kiss.  Mwah!  Just wanted to say that I love that you and you and especially you (wink) stop by to read The Painted House.  I consider it a huge honor to be a stop on your Internetticus wanderings.  This little creative spot nourishes my soul.  So, thank you!

Mmm, looks like someone is about to make scrambled eggs!


So now that we’ve had our first kiss, I thought we could get a little bit more intimate.  See up at the top of the page on the right where it says “subscribe?”  Have you subscribed to TPH yet?  Won’t you consider subscribing so you won’t miss any of the good stuff?  Now, look up there just to the left of “subscribe” is “facebook.”  It’s rough around the edges, my FB page, but when I do get it all glossed up, won’t you be glad that you are already a friend of TPH?  Is this a little weird?  Have we moved too fast?  No, it all feels just right.

Now I’m going to love you and leave you…just for a few days.  I need to catch up on a few projects here at the house before Scott Market next month.  I’ll be back to blogging on Monday, May 31.  In the meantime, check out the wonderful blogs and websites on my blogroll up there.  And, did you notice that I added an easy link to “The Best of the Cottage” on the sidebar?  Tell me that you’ll miss me.  I’ll miss you.


Oh, and on the subject of kissing:  mouthwash.  Did you notice that both the latest issues of House Beautiful and Elle Decor feature decanters with mouthwash in bathrooms and the same monogram plates?   We’re down to just a few shelter magazines and they have to sync up and publish the same stuff?  Well, if both mags suggest mouthwash in glass decanters, who am I to resist?  I already had the decanter (Crate & Barrel)–I just had to buy the clear mouthwash.

I like this idea.  Mmm, fresh and minty pillowtalk!  Not to mention good nighty-night kisses.


See you all next week!

Kenilworth Open Studio Tour

I hit the artists’ studio tour with Sabine this last weekend in the Kenilworth neighborhood of Asheville.  Can I just say that it isn’t fair that I don’t live in a neighborhood stocked this tightly with artists and their creative lairs?  I didn’t see all the studios, but here are the highlights.

Diana Gillispie

Diana is the artist behind Asheville Tileworks, earthy handmade tiles.  The colors are gorgeous.  I brought a cobalt blue one home with me.


Valerie Hoh

The entry to Hoh’s home and studio.  If it weren’t for my raised garden bed on my back patio, I’d so tile it like that tomorrow.

Hoh’s artwear–Hoh Couture–is organic, freeform, and fun.  I’m wishing now that I had bought that tank.  But I did leave with a fun scarf  that doubles as a belt and triples as a headband.

I was fascinated with her industrial furniture made from found items–a collaborative design project between her and another artist.


Ann and Sandy Batton

The entrance to the Batton Clayworks studio at the home of Ann and Sandy Batton.  The teapot is a fountain.  I really wanted to take the planter home with me, but I now do own a Batton birdhouse.

Unabashed whimsy.


Teddy Jordan

Jordan dresses up furniture and found objects with paint in sherbet colors and fun.

Yes, the squirrel is wearing goggles, as any squirrel should while driving a pinecone-mobile.  Darn, the squirrel was not for sale.  But a birdhouse was.  Contact Jordan at teddy(dot)jordan(at)doodad(dot)com.


Don’t you love my new bird village hanging from the dogwood tree?  The yellow one is by Batton Clayworks and the blue one is handpainted by Teddy Jordan.  Even if no birds make their home here (you’d have to be a bird-brain not to live in these beauties, ahem), they make me so happy just to see them hanging in the backyard.


(Just a friendly reminder from your friendly resident artist at TPH.)

TPH Luv List, 5.21.10

Here is a list of lovelies tickling my fancy today.

1.  Orange Desk-sicle

Jill at Live.Like.You has created a spot of happy with her desk makeover.  Want to see the before?  I so adore this vignette.

In fact, it has me thinking.  See this little repurposed desk I picked up recently at a yard sale?  I wanted to re-sell it, but now I’m thinking I should paint it orange, change the knobs, fit it with a new top, and keep it.  How expensive could a scrap of carrara marble be?  Expensive.  I called.  But maybe something else?  I’ve had it in the kitchen a few days to see if I like having an island in there.  I like the idea of wheels–move it when I need more room.  The space could use the jolt of color.

Here is more of the space.  What do you think?  Crowded?  Or, cozy?  Talk to me, please.  I need your help.

The other side of the kitchen:

See those lamps way down there, too?  I’ve been considering black & white stripe lampshades.  Anyone know where I can find some?  Thank you, Jill, for the inspiration!


2.  Bad Boy Smoothies

We’ve been downing these a lot lately.  It’s my antioxidant one-two punch.  Banana + frozen organic berries + heaping spoonfuls of ground flax seeds + handful of fresh spinach + oj or rice milk or coconut milk.  The bebe loves his “otro jugo.”  Delicious!  Spinach never tasted so good.


3. Reader’s Real Life Eden

Reader and friend of TPH, Miss Karen T, sent me these photos of her garden in Southern California.  A pool and she’s a master of vegan cooking–I think this would make a lovely vacation spot for me.  I love inviting myself over.

Can’t you just smell the citrus?

Thank you for sharing, Karen!  Oh, and how long, again, is the flight from Atlanta?


4. Turquoise Wedges + Skinny Jeans That Fit

The comfy everyday sandals are from BC Footwear, Shipwreck.  They are smiles on my feet–especially when they are kissing the hem of my new French Connection skinny jeans.  Happy day, I found skinny jeans that don’t bag at my knees or my caboose by mid-day and don’t fall off my waist.  This is major on the luv list.You can go ahead and toss adorable vintage yellow buggy on the luv list, too.


5.  Looking Forward to Good Things on the Calendar

Kenilworth Open Studio Tour is this weekend in Asheville.

The Modern Atlanta Home Tour is June 5 & 6.  (Pictured is Modern Atlanta Home Tour 2009, Montgomery Ferry Road)


6. Stylish Moms

What a sweet blog is this–for chic moms everywhere.

My grandmother.

My mother.


7.  Portraits of Me & My Daughter Drawn by My Daughter

Under a rainbow, holding our purses and Ositos, what could be more luv list material than this?


What is on your luv list today?  Happy weekend, everyone!

Good Germans, by Hal Marienthal

I sometimes give a passing thought to the inhabitants of the houses at which I drive by and gawk.  Sometimes I wonder what they do for a living or what they’re cooking for dinner.  Sometimes I assume their lives are like mine–busy, blessed, difficult, filled with joy and frustration, challenging.  Other times I think they must have it all together, a life teetering on perfect.  Or, a house can have such an outrageous exterior that it is easy to construct a character to fit the set.  But I never would have imagined when I drove up to a tidy cottage in Asheville the extraordinary life of the man who lives within.

It is interesting to me how paths in our lives unfold before us.  I happened upon Sabine Marienthal’s website when I was searching for the Prairie house in Kenilworth.  A few days later I met her at the house, where she was joined by her husband Hal.   They were a friendly couple, inviting me and my daughter to their own home that day.  It was there that I briefly visited with Hal in his study, saw a photo of him with Mt. Everest looming behind him, and learned that he was a professor at University of North Carolina-Asheville.  I was half-way distracted by my four-year-old daughter, but I heard Hal say he writes books.  Later that day, Sabine told me about Good Germans, an autobiographical novel written about Hal’s boyhood in Germany.

Once home, I read about Good Germans online:

Germany 1929:  Horst, son of Jewish parents, is six years old when he runs away from an orphanage.  For three years the desperate little boy survives by sheer determination and with the help of ordinary citizens.  Unintentionally he witnesses the rise of Nazism on its most elemental level.

Germany 1932:  When Horst and his widowed father are reunited they accept proposed adoption plans by distant relatives in Chicago.  The agonizing mechanism of getting Horst out of the country is the suspenseful core of the novel.  Good Germans becomes an electrifying adventure story whose outcome remains uncertain until the book’s final page.

I ordered the book and had it in hand by the time we left for Mexico.  I read with disbelief and broken heart that the same exuberant man I had met in Asheville was this little boy determined to survive in the midst of such horrors.  I looked at my own six-year-old boy, trying to imagine him on his own–for three years.  Young Hal accepted the kindness of strangers, worked for food and shelter, slept in piles of leaves, hid in the sewers, witnessed tragic violence.  And the one courageous act that sealed his escape from the Nazis was unknown to him until the 1970s.  I finished the book touched, amazed, heavy–but joyful to know the life Hal has led since he arrived in the United States.

I wondered if he would sit down with me for a visit after reading the book.  He graciously agreed.

Hal led me into his study where he plopped on the sofa, settling in on his back.  I sat down on the other end and started crying immediately.  I felt intrusive–yet connected.  He answered my questions while we sipped the iced coffee Sabine made for us.  I can tell he is an engaging teacher as his stories meandered from one to another, catching me at every turn.  Conversation turned to his recent battle with cancer, including non-Hodgkin lymphoma.  When I shared that my husband, too, was diagnosed two years ago with non-Hodgkin lymphoma, Hal turned to the window and said, “Shit.”  Yes, exactly.

I needed to get on the road, and he needed to prepare for his evening class.  We hugged and I hope I thanked him enough for such a poignant afternoon.  I left in a daze, that feeling when ordinary life is blasted through with the exceptional.

Good Germans is available through Amazon.  Or, you can order a signed copy from Hal.  It is not just the remarkable story but also the remarkable storytelling.  I am so thankful that of all the realtors I could have contacted that day, I contacted Sabine.  She and Hal are good people, friends, extraordinary lives.

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