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The Winding Down of Summer Means Dahlia Season

Posted on September 12, 2014 by Rebecca | 2 comments

 

I don't know what it is about me and Dahlias.  Maybe it is that they are so easy to grow; maybe it is the tremendous variety.  Perhaps it is the vibrant colors.   Either way, I rarely have the heart to pick them.  I leave them in my garden for as long as possible to enjoy the enormous, colorful blooms that are like candy canes in my flower beds.  During the Great Geauga County Fair, I was able to sneak away from the Draft Horse Barn long enough one evening to visit the Dahlia display, the largest entry of flowers at the Fair, by far.  Probably due to the fact that the end of summer is this tuberous's most prolific showing before our first frost.  They are entered and displayed so simply; in a vintage glass milk jar or simple clear bottle.  Some of the blooms are as big as platters - they measure over 12 inches in diameter.  Some are no more than an inch across.  The colors are like a fireworks display, each leaf looks like they have been hand painted, sometimes in multiple colors. There is also a sense of symmetry about this plant like no others that I know.  Doing a little research,  I found that the great variety of these flowers results from dahlias being octoploids—that is, they have eight sets of homologous chromosomes.  Apparently, most plants have only two. In addition, dahlias also contain many transposons—genetic pieces that move from place to place upon an allele—which contributes to their manifesting such great diversity.  Who knew?! Usually, there is a hush in the flower barn as everyone assembles their dahlia entries, it is a reverent quiet,  almost hushed environment in the flower barn compared to the vast chaos of the rest of the Fair.  It is my treat every year to go view the splendor of the Dahlias, reflecting and contemplating upon the end of the summer and the arrival of early Fall, one of my favorite seasons.

 

 

 

 

Until next time, Enjoy!!

 

Best - Rebecca

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Traditional Home Magazine Photo Shoot

Posted on June 13, 2014 by Rebecca | 0 comments

We have just finished one of the most fun projects on which we've ever worked on.  A few weeks ago, Stephen Carlson, our good friend and Rebecca Ray Designs Marketing and PR expert who owns DVG Group, called me one evening and said, "How would you feel about the Farm being featured in the September Fashion Issue!?"  After I let out a giant squeal of joy like a small girl, I regained my composure and tried to sound matter-of-fact (but I'm certain Stephen wasn't buying it!!).  There was a small catch, Stephen mentioned, "They are on a very tight time line and they'll be arriving in 12 days. Is that OK with you?"  "Sure!" I gulped- the same kind of "Sure" you use when you hear that unexpected house guests are 10 minutes away and you are cleaning your closets! 

I got off the phone so excited... and then I looked around.  As you know, we were absolutely ravaged by a record breaking winter, and Spring was at least 6 weeks late. The 100 year old roses had been killed back to the ground from the below 30 degree temperatures. Builder Bob was just finishing the new barn building and there were still piles of dirt all over and a rather unattractive dumpster sitting in front of the barn.  Game face I thought.  We can do anything in 12 days, right?  No worries that Derek, my heavy lifter and my right hand was traveling for work and wouldn't be home until about an hour before the Senior Architecture Editor of Traditional Home touches down in Cleveland.  In fact, maybe they could share a ride home from the airport... but I digress.

 

 

So, "any-who" as Lizzie would say, we got to work, and fast! My family, who is pretty reliable in a pinch, came to my aid. My aunt spent countless days gardening with me and transplanting perennials.  My mom came to help me plant my baskets and planters while my dad rode old Fergie (the 1954 Massey Ferguson) with the big gang mover dodging the rain and lightening. Andrea went above and beyond helping me with the animals. I rode my little John Deere tractor (which Derek reminds me weekly, is not a brush hog - whatever) and I answered my texts and calls as I was on the tractor out in left field.  

 

Within 10 days a magical transformation had occurred. The gardens were back up and everything started to bloom on cue.  

      

The hedges were trimmed and the patio furniture sparkled.  

 

Even the horses seemed to know to stay clean - there was no extra time to give them baths!  

 

On the appointed day, the Traditional Home crew arrived!  We suggested that they stay in the Village of Chagrin at The Inn at Gamekeepers, a historic hotel.  We took them to several of our favorite places to eat, including Lemon Falls, a delightful luncheon spot in Chagrin where they make the best egg salad, home-made soups and bakery.  

 

It was fascinating seeing how they make all of their shots so beautiful by arranging flowers and furniture. We all had a blast!  

    

The Traditional Home team was absolutely delightful and we can't wait to see the Farm in the pages of their gorgeous magazine.  Look for the September Fashion Issue, coming out in mid-August.

 

In the meanwhile, I'll be recovering!!!!

 

Rebecca

 

 

 

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Making a House a Home through Vintage Collections

Posted on March 17, 2014 by Rebecca | 0 comments

Many people ask me how to achieve a magazine look on a realistic budget in their homes. My answer is always the same: buy vintage and moderate antiques, and break all of the decorating rules you know!!  I am a firm believer that your home should be a reflection of who you and your family are and share what is important to you.  In our home, I tend to collect animal and sporting art.  I also cherish things that have been handed down from our families.  I know it isn't fun to polish silver and it takes an extra effort to set a table, but I think of that activity as an artistic endeavor that is an expression of whatever I'm feeling that day. Everything that you see in the picture of our dining room above is vintage, antique, hand-me-down or handmade.  The only thing I didn't make are these particular holiday crackers - although my daughter Lizzie and I have been known to make those as well!!  A home evolves as a collection evolves, one piece at a time.  As tempting as it is to buy everything at once from one catalog, that will not be a reflection of you and your family over time. The hunt is half the fun and provides you with the special memories when you look at your collections. Here are the rules I love to break when setting a table:

1. When you set a table - nothing has to match.  You may use different crystal, plates, flatware, candlesticks. I typically use 4-5 sets of things when I set a table and I never do it twice the same way. Pull out your grandmother's dishes; they are your heritage- just think of the stories they could tell!!

2. Flowers need not be elaborate.  In this tablescape, I picked fresh greens and added a small package of Trader Joe's roses. Use holiday picks or sparkles amongst your greens. For Easter, pick interesting branches from your yard, spray paint, and hang wonderful trinkets or eggs on them. You can use some floral oasis and put them in a wonderfully colored Easter basket.   

3. Use non-traditional items on your table.  Do you have a bunny collection somewhere? Tie bows around their necks and center them on your table amongst Easter grass and foil wrapped chocolate eggs. You could also put these trinkets in a small coffee cup for a little arrangement on the center of each person's plate.

4. Break the table linen tradition. I adore all of my vintage linens, yet I find that a burlap table runner or paper placemats makes things more casual when you're using Grandma's china. Wrap up napkins with twine and a piece of budding Forsythia. Add some kraft paper with an initial of the seat recipient on it. Or use vintage quilts on a table for Spring and Summer colors.

 

What are some of your favorite, no fail decorating tips that are outside the box? Be sure to visit our new Curated Vintage Finds Collection at RebeccaRayDesign.com/collections/curated.  I've been collecting one of a kind antiques for  the last few months so that you can get started on your on own collection and create special memories every time you walk through your home!!

 

 

 

 

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Northern Michigan Travelogue

Posted on August 13, 2013 by Rebecca | 0 comments

Just a few weeks ago, Derek, Lizzie and I took a family road trip to Northern Michigan to visit Derek's parents. Derek grew up in this absolutely beautiful portion of our country, and I always tease him that certainly everyday he lived there must have felt like a vacation! Since his family still resides in Boyne, we spent the week scouting around in Petoskey, Harbor Springs and Sturgeon Bay. Here are a few of my favorites sites and activities from the trip!

While we were in Harbor Springs, I had the opportunity to visit one of our favorite Rebecca Ray retailers Joie de Vie where Valerie has done the most magnificent job displaying our products. Her store is absolutely gorgeous; as you can see below, it's a visual treat!

 

During the evening one night, we went to Elk Rapids Polish Festival for not only the draft horse pull competition but for the Kielbasa, Sauerkraut and noodles - does it get any better than that? Here is the winning team!

Also, I was able to visit Rebecca Ray traveling retailer, Bead by Bead at the Traverse City Horse Show, where Ann has a beautiful set up and display of Rebecca Ray.

Another day was spent at the Petoskey Antiques show - foraging for great finds. It is always fun to be at a antiques show in a different region, as you tend to see different things. I loved this vintage stone stool and had never seen anything like it! As for these antique fishing creel bags, the natural bag farthest to the right reminded me of The Camryn bag! You can see where I get my inspiration from!

And, as usual, we did all of our regular vacation things like Tom's Mom's cookies, Guerney Store sandwiches, farmer's markets and beach time.  It was a great break and fun family time.  Hope you enjoy the pictures!

Until next adventure, Best!!

Rebecca

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Hurray! Summer's Here at Rebecca Ray!

Posted on June 05, 2013 by Rebecca | 0 comments

I do believe, that after a slightly contentious winter that hung on way too long, it appears that summer is finally here.  A chance to wear all of those bright colors that we have been longing for.  For me, it is also a time to pick flowers out of the garden almost every evening - I hunt and gather and run in to poke through all of my containers, vases and pitchers that I have collected throughout the years. Nothing perks up a room quite like fresh flowers! At our new farm, the peonies are particularly stunning this year all in pinks and whites in various shapes.  I'm pairing them with simple variegated hosta leaves that I also find in the yard.  The flowering trees are also a source of inspiration; I love placing branches in mid-century vases of strong greeks and blues.  Our hydrangeas are big and pink, and I love pairing those blooms with white ironstone or milk glass. Summer is also one of my favorite times because it is the start of all of our local, fresh farmer's markets. All of that fresh produce and home grown product inspires me to go home and cook!

 

From flowers to fruits, I have always been captivated by these bright colors found in nature, and the inspiration has translated into my designs! Whenever I see a dark red delicious apple, I am reminded of the time when I designed The Maryann handbag. I was trying to pick out a rich fall color for the bag and saw the apple I had with my lunch… and that’s how the red Maryann came to be! A pink Camryn handbag is always reminiscent to me of the pink peonies in my garden and a orange Croc Bracelet makes me long for sweet summer peaches. Hope you get inspired to both garden and embrace Summer style with Rebecca Ray!!

 

Best,

Rebecca 

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