Saturday, April 28, 2012

Lilac Love

Lilacs are one of my favorite flowers... I remember walking into Le Circque in New York City years ago and there was a HUGE vase of lilacs that I fell in love with.  They are rare in the south because of the heat but I have been coaxing some to grow here at Lowfields.  The old varieties are the best!  

Lovely Lilacs

A beautiful Lilac arrangement

Bedside Bouquet of Lilacs

Friday, April 27, 2012

Such a showoff!

Hercule Poirot showing off while all his ladies are sitting on their eggs!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Pillow Talk

I think a fabulous pillow can take any room or piece of furniture from ordinary to extraordinary.  I have a million pillows both at Lowfields and at Sunset.  I am constantly switching them out and on the hunt for new ones to add to the mix!   Here is a smattering of some of my favorites... 
Crazy Quilted, Needlepoint & Cashmere in the Bunk House

A grand chateaux on printed cotton at Sunset

A great Ralph Lauren and a felted wool in Whimsey

Toile and Crewel pillows with fringe added that I bought in France

Illegal use of pillow as a dog bed and it's my favorite chintz! 

My oldest and most cherished pillow -
old velvet and silk with beautiful embroidery and tarnished gold trim

Tie pillow - crazy but fun! 

Another crazy quilted one made of super old faded velvet I found at Goodwill.
The ruffle is some Harris Tweed I bought in Scotland.  

This one was made by my friend Cathi from a scrap of material from a favorite dress 
Another Cathi creation - she took a piece of needlepoint made by my father when he was young.
Very special indeed! 

Fur muffs as pillows

Flame stitch and a needlepoint Pan found by Deborah

Bedroom pillows - yawnnnnnn

Floral vintage needlepoint

Monday, April 16, 2012

Garden Pavilion at Sunset

Taking you back to Raleigh for this post as I wanted to share with you a great use of an out building on our property there.  It is one of our favorite areas for an outside beverage and lunch. I even sometimes use it for work meetings!   I included some photos below when it was highlighted in Country Living Magazine and how it looks now since I updated the seating and cushions outside.  
Garden Pavilion - view from the house

Charles & Clara Belle enjoying the new cushions and seating
Country Living Magazine

Country Living Magazine

Great area for lunch
Country Living Magazine

Gardening home base with potting table
Country Living Magazine

More seating & storage inside
Country Living Magazine
Inside artwork
Country Living Magazine

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Mr. Darcy

Lowfields Mr. Darcy enjoys the spring sun, 
but knows he can get into the shade when he wants.  
He definitely has the life! 
Lowfields Mr. Darcy

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Saturday Night Supper - Big Easy Gumbo

Being from New Orleans, Gumbo was a staple meal in our household and many families have recipes that date back years.  I have come up with a recipe that takes out a lot of the extra work that goes into making gumbo but still has the same great flavors.   Please note:  this is NOT the way Bockie would have made it. But it's still delicious and crazy EASY!  

Big Easy Gumbo
3 bags frozen cut up okra
1 can french onion soup
1 can tomato bisque soup
1-2 tablespoons Tony Chachere's Original Creole Seasoning
1-2 pounds fresh or frozen shrimp

Combine okra, both soups and seasoning and let simmer for 2-3 hours.  About 15 minutes before serving, add shrimp and cook until pink.    You can serve over rice or just eat it on it's own! 
Big Easy Gumbo

Friday, April 13, 2012

Apple Orchard in Bloom

The apple orchard has awoken from it's winter slumber!   
In full bloom

Clara Belle & Floyd relax in the shade of the orchard

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Spring Porch Cleaning at the Farm

We have numerous areas at Lowfields for outside gathering, all with wonderful views of the property.  Every year we start fresh with cleaning the porches and terraces at the farm.  We are always using them either to have our morning coffee or our sunset beverages so it's nice that they are clean and ready to go!  

Back screened in porch - all furniture removed and hosed down! 

Ready to go! 

Extra chairs and of course - water for the dogs! 

Perfect spot for the paper and morning coffee

We can fit a lot of people back here for sunset happy hour!  

Removing furniture for cleaning the upstairs terrace

Hosing down the upstairs terrace

Finished and ready to go - great view of the land and barns

Downstairs terrace getting hosed down

A lovely cool spot for lunch

Back view of the porch at Whimsey
Finished shot of Whimsey porch -
as photographed in Country Living Magazine

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Happy Birthday Fred!

With much love from Ann, Charles, Sister, Michael, Nutmeg & Cutty

Tuesday, April 10, 2012


Typically people use closets in their homes to store things.  While I do have some closets at Lowfields and in Raleigh, I feel the best way and by that, I mean "best looking" way to store things is to use cupboards instead of closets.    They are really useful pieces of furniture because they basically organize things for you.  I have many different cupboards that all have many different uses!

Cleaning Cupboard 
Perfect for all the cleaning items, including tall things like brooms & mops! 
Linen cupboard

I also keep soaps, toilet paper and other items on the top shelf

Office cupboard

Homebase for holding business files and gifts

Another cleaning cupboard

Every type of cleaning option known to man lives here