Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Images to Make One "Happy"

In a previous entry, I mentioned my friend, Suzy Taylor. Suzy has been a friend and associate since she decorated my son's seventh birthday. (He's a bit older now.) It was a favor to me because Suzy is and was a recognized product designer, artist, and interior designer. I still have a coffee table she designed. Even she hasn't hung on to the design--but I have. It has several different positions, although I usually keep it at dining table height--perfect for afternoon tea.

Several years ago, Suzy moved to an exotic town in Mexico, and has just recently launched a wonderfully colorful web site, displaying her paintings and her other design work.

I think Mexico has definitely had an influence on her--her flower paintings are vivid and exuberant. Visit the gallery online and say hello to my dear friend and former colleague.

Lady Mendl's Tea Salon in New York has a very enticing program through the holidays and into the New Year. If you are looking for an event when visiting the city, consider this an elegant step back in time. And if you have tea rooms in your community, you might inspire them by letting them in on the very active events at Lady Mendl's. The salon is located at The Inn at Irving Place, which was featured in Victoria, and where we sometimes used the pristine backgrounds for photography for the magazine. The Inn consists of two beautifully restored townhouses that date to the mid-19th century.

For pure delight and fun, check out the Anthropologie site--their "snow house," in particular. These folks go a long way in making their site, stores, and catalog a wondrous experience. Not that we are all going to don "the gay apparel" they feature, but if you want to get into the mood for winter holidays, it's a nice trip across the internet. I thought the "outfits" put together with themes like "iced branches" and "lamplight" were very expressive. And "at home" is the place to find a product that will put you in mind of sleigh bells ringing.

"We're happy tonight," evokes the song--and the folks who create these images sure must have been. Snuggle up and enjoy. And thanks to Tricia Foley for sending it along.


  1. I just got that catalog the other day and it's a honey! Just like a page from Dr. Zhivago! It's a keeper! And yes, I signed up for one of Lady Mendel's tea lectures. Can't wait! Thanks for alerting us, Nancy!
    Karen Marline

  2. Nancy,
    I LOVE Lady Mendl's! I haven't been there in... forever? I need to plan a Christmas tea with friends. ~ Gail Gallagher

  3. Hello Nancy. Loved all the links on today's blog. Thanks so much for sharing. Sincerely, Susan from

  4. Lady Mendel's sounds delightful. I miss city life, when those charming and somewhat offbeat places (not sure if Lady Mendel's is offbeat but it sounds charming) could be found in nearly every neighborhood. I recall having a holiday pastry and coffee at a place called the Queen Anne tearoom in Madison, Wis., in mid-December in about 1987. The accouterments of such places - dishes, decorations, etc. - we not so mass produced then, so everything had an authentic, one-of-a-kind quality to it. Drinking tea in such a place for the first time was like opening a new edition of Victoria when it came in the mail. The small enchantments make the season - or even a life!

  5. So happy you're blogging and sharing with us. It's like having a little surprise piece of the old Victoria delivered to our email box. Loved the links.

  6. I loved your thoughts on "Images to Make One Happy." The photograph from The Inn at Irving Place is pure Victoria bliss.

    Alas, I do not live in an area with any of the wonderful historical and elegant homes and gardens featured in Victoria. But, thanks to you and your staff, many times I felt as if I walked through the rooms or strolled the gardens. I truly do not feel I ever spent as much time absorbing any other magazine than I did each Victoria. Just picking up a new issue would give me a rush of excitement. I admit I loved to play a game by going through the issue first to see if I could choose Toshi Otsuki's work. Sometimes I felt I could just sink into the photos, which I considered works of art. This does not mean I did not enjoy all your photographers, but his just always spoke straight to my inner being.

    After browsing the issue in my hands, I would start back on each article, starting with Favorite Things. This always inspired me to read my Victoria from cover to cover. You introduced me to current writers, artists, and enterprising, talented women who followed their dreams. I visited the homes of women from the past such as my beloved Elizabeth Barret Browning, Queen Victoria and had tea with Anne of Green Gables. I can go back to any issue and feel just the same rush of pure enjoyment as I did reading it for the first time. You may not have realized at the time that you created classics, but that is exactly what happened.

    Every photo, word, passage from literature, parts of poetry came together to paint pictures in my mind. I have in front of me "Private Musings--By the Window" from your June, 1991 issue. You quoted "It was a sweet view--sweet to the eye and the mind," from Emma by June Austen. These are the kind of images that make my mind happy.

    I also want to tell you that I loved your new work from Suzy Taylor. How vibrant and beautiful!

    Thank you Nancy. Please keep your beautiful thoughts and images coming.

    Happy Thanksgiving, Jean

  7. Nancy,

    I just wanted you to know that, intrigued by your post and the beautiful paintings, I visited Suzy's website (which is fabulous) just after reading your post. I loved seeing her beautiful paintings and studio and then reading her thoughts about her artwork. I was particularly taken with this part of her artist statement, "I paint what I see. The joy is in the seeing, and I try to capture that in my paintings."

    As an artist myself dealing in realism, I find so often that the "art world" finds realism to be passe. I draw and paint what I see because it brings me joy. Her statement said in a few words what I have felt in my own heart for such a long time. And her work speaks for itself; it couldn't be more beautiful. I left a comment for her saying very much what I have said here, and I received a very kind response from her almost immediately. What a lovely person and beautiful artist. Thank you so much for sharing her website with us.