Thursday, April 25, 2013

Calling All Designers/Architects - Portfolio REVIEW

New England Home Magazine: Portfolio Review

Do you have a project you think should be published?

If you do, New England Homes magazine editor, Stacy Kunstel and I would love to see it.

I'm excited to be part of the New England Homes magazine sponsored event "Designer Portfolio Review" at the Wakefield Design Center on May 8.  Bring  two of your favorite projects and we'll review them for possible consideration in an upcoming issue.

This is a great opportunity to discuss the ins and out of getting published, a great chance to meet see familiar faces again,  meet new friends and talk shop!

If you are wondering what to bring:  Professional shots are great, but not necessary,  pictures taken with your iphone or ipad are great, too. We can look at projects on your laptop or in a formal portfolio book.

Fabulous events worth attending include talk with Cindy Rinfret on her a book signing by as she introduces her latest book, "Greenwich Style: Inspired Family Homes".

Linda Rudeman, Greenwich Style home
If your looking to get a project published this is a great way to get the inside scoop on how to get published.
New England Home
We are looking for projects in all corners of New England, from Connecticut to Maine.

If you want to share a project with us that is not fully completed, we will be happy to see this as well. If your not sure, bring it down.

New England Homes magazines is interested in all of the different styles of design and architecture that make New England so diverse.

Take a glance at this Wakefileld flyer and mark it on your calender, I hope to see many of you there!

 For more information, please contact 203.358.0818 or visit 


Monday, April 8, 2013

Forcing Forsythia Branches

Clip Early Spring Branches Now
If you can't wait for Spring, clip a few branches and watch the buds blossom into bursts of color

Two weeks ago I cut my first long branches of Forsythia and placed them in my kitchen window. In just 5 days, the little buds had turned from brown to brilliant bursts of yellow flowers. I've had a continual display ever since by replacing fading blooms with new branches.

While your garden Forsythia is just about to bloom outdoors, it's still a good time to bring branches indoors to add burst of screaming yellow to your floral arrangements. You can enjoy Forsythia  branches weeks ahead of nature's schedule by taking cuttings into your home and forcing the branches to bloom!

Dress up garden urns by placing watering cans filled with forsythia blooms 
on top. It's a great way to move color around outdoors as shown here in the current  2013 Spring" Country Gardens" magazine.

I used Forsythia to style this pretty breakfast room at my friend Maria Taylor's 
home for Better Homes and Gardens story. Its perfect for adding a sunny 
accent with little effort. Make sure to have a tall container on hand to display it.

Forcing Forsythia
Forsythia is the easiest branch to force with guaranteed results.  Cut the longest branches from your Forsythia bushes. Bring them inside and re-cut the ends on an angle with a sharp knife. Add warm water into a tall vase and then add the cut Forsythia branches. Place the vase in a sunny window and watch the magic happen.

 Look for more  Great Garden and floral great ideas 
in the Spring 2013 Country Gardens Issue.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Create Impact With Cherry Blossoms

Blooming Branches: 
A wonderful greeting as you enter a room!

Nothing creates greater visual impact to a room than a tall array of flowering Spring-time branches.  Even displaying a single branch placed in a vase can be breathtaking and worth bringing indoors to admire.

A gathered selection of blooming single and double cherry blossoms 
combined with plum branches make up this display. 

I'm fortunate to have a good friend like Shelley Holmes! Shelley invited me to cut several amazingly beautiful branches from her enormous and very old double cherry-tree.  I felt like a kid in a candy shop!

The oversized vintage copper watering can came from a favortie antiques shop in Woodbury, Connecticut, called the French Country Loft. It's great to collect one of a kind containers like this for your arrangements.

Photos by Michael Partenio
I like the simplicity of this white enamel watering can I found at the flea market. It's the right size for a few small cuttings of magnolia flowers.  Cut the end of stem with a sharp knife on an angle and place in warm water.
Here is the Best Way to Cut a Branch Stem:
Using a sharp kitchen paring knife, slice the bottom of the branch in a half vertically ( about 2") exposing center.  In the center of the branch is a hollow vein with small white particles that look like styrofoam. This the the part of the branch that drinks the water. You want to expose the center to the water.  On thinner branches you can also peel away some of the bark or woody material using a paring knife.
To learn more about arranging and forcing spring branches, look for my feature in the current 2013 Spring Issue of Country Gardens magazine.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Grace Your Door With Spring Blossoms

Blooming Branches
Take a few simple cuttings and bring Spring inside

Are you ecstatic when our Spring landscape of trees and shrubs starts to bloom with bursts of color? Spring is the perfect moment to collect cuttings to create Sping-time displays in your home. Last year, Country Gardens editor, James Bagget, asked me to do just that. I used vintage watering cans as vessels for all of the arrangements showcased in the current 2013, Spring issue of Better Homes and Gardens' Country Gardens magazine. I kept the arrangements simple by focusing on the beauty of single blooms.
Photo: Michael Partenio
I loved creating this idea: gracing front doors with decorative vintage watering cans and blooming pear. You too will find vintage, metal watering cans irresistible, especially when they have a painted patina. 

If you have a door knocker or a large nail on your door, this is very easy to make: If your watering can measures 10" in diameter, you will need between 8-10 yards of rope (1/4" hemp available at most local hardware stores).
1- Start at the very front and bottom of your watering can: hold the first 12" of your rope flat  and upright against the can front.
2- Now, while covering this first 12" to secure in place, wrap and layer the rest of the rope around the bottom 5 times (while winding upward) to make a wide band.
3- Finish by bringing ends together in front and knot, leaving long decorative ends.
4- Wrap rope around the side handle in the same manner while leaving excess rope for hanging.  Now wrap the other end of rope around the nozzle ending with a tie to hold in place. Place the can on the door. Then add water along with 1, 2 or 3 branches.  The weight of the water will keep the can in place.

Forcing Branches
You can cut  a several branches from your tree or shrub at any time once the branches have buds. You will have more success the further along the buds are. The closer they are to opening, the sooner they will bloom for you. After you remove each branch from a shrub, use a shape knife to cut the bottom of the stem on a diagonal. To speed up the blooming process, place the branches in warm water and then before a sunny window.

Look for more great garden and floral decorating tips and ideas in the Spring 2013 issue of Country Gardens Magazine!