The world is in bloom.
Spring arrived with a great rush here in Pittsburgh. Midsummer heat swept through the bare branches of early March, bulbs burst into full flowering brightness, a lush carpet of grass sprung up from the bare brown soil, and suddenly the air is full of sweetness. Spring is a season of powerful newness. Since I am here in the city and far from the farm fields of home, I decided to celebrate the season by packing up my camera- and my toddler…
…and heading over to see the new crop of displays at our local Anthropologie. Like my recent trip to meet the Pioneer Woman, this trip was partially inspired by my sisters, especially Mary, who lives on a ridge far away from fancy stores and big book signings. Mary will be moving into her own little cottage in a couple weeks. She has a beautiful ( and anthropologie-ish) knack for home decorating, and I can’t wait to see what she does with it. I though these pictures might inspire her.
Lets look a little closer at the front window, shall we?
This spring, Anthropologie is inspired by Abstract Expressionism. It says so, right on the window.
Meanwhile, I am inspired by Anthropologie. In part, this is because, unlike Mary, I am a terrible shopper. As the eldest of nine children raised by a journalist/farmer, I didn’t get into the habit of shopping at an early age- though I did get really proficient at sorting through the regular large bags of clothing left at our home by helpful friends and members of the community. Even thrift store shopping is fraught with tension for me. I lack the ability to see an object or piece of clothing and know how to integrate it into my home or wardrobe with a strong and significant sense of Style. However, I am capable of recognizing beauty and creativity when I see it- so, I love wandering through Anthropologie. I think they do a fantastic job of marketing brilliant creativity and an eye for beauty.
I love the way this display flows, and the colors of their spring collection. I also love that this shirt is laid out on what appears to be a butcher block table.
This next picture is a great example of the way the designs within the store play with texture. Something about this reminds me of the running a theatre company and working on set design. However, I am pretty sure that something about the chair would remind my husband of a piece of furniture that has been attacked by a vicious bobcat and then left in the rain. Sometimes our tastes differ, have I mentioned that?
I have another ulterior motive in my recent love for bright and flowing prints, like the shirt featured above, and the dresses below.
As a very tall, very straight hipped, and very fair skinned person, I generally shy away from bright and flowing clothing. I feel that it makes me look ridiculous, as though I am swathed in a bright and cheerful tent and billowing in the wind. However, these days I am a very tall person who is four months pregnant, and my shape is definitely starting to shift. So is my taste in clothing. Bring on the bright and the billowing!
Also, bring on the big accessories. Luckily, the fact that I am a bellydancer means I have lots of necklaces like this one lying about.
In fact, I have a very similar necklace to the one above. I love it, but for some unknown reason I’ve only worn it once. I now resolve to work it into my wardrobe on a regular basis. Wandering through the displays at Anthropologie often reminds me to see the beauty in things I already possess- like this heap of clay pots.
I too possess a (significantly less orderly) heap of battered and empty pots, located in a forlorn jumble to the side of our back porch. One of them is verdant with a random and likely weedy growth, and the rest reproached me throughout the entire last gardening season. Seeing these displayed made me feel marginally better about this eerie similarity to my pitiful pot heap. I am going to guess that my husband will NOT be convinced that this justifies the jumbled heap or makes it any more attractive- so I have put Clean Pots on my to-do list for the next week.
I do not on the other hand happen to have a large collection of home- made aprons, but my domestic goddess sewing sister Mary makes them, and I bet hers rival the ones on display here.
Lets look a little closer at all that china.
I really loved the bee on this plate, and the brightness of the mugs.
There were lots of cheerful pieces of china.
But I was extremely relieved to discover that the plate my (almost) two year old fell in love with, and began to play with, was plastic. Pretty and unbreakable plastic plates have been a staple in my house recently. In fact I may return and pick up some of these some day soon.
There were many things in the store that reminded me of the the farm where I grew up- Anthropologie is all about the farmhouse chic.
This strawberry plate reminded me of my sister Colleen, because of her love of all things French and also because growing up, Colleen headed out to the upper fields and found the first ripe strawberry of the year.
Speaking of strawberries, these ceramic containers are a permanent version of the ubiquitous stacks of cardboard containers that we use to harvest berries every year.
These spindles are old and distressed, but they remind me of the beautiful new Amish crafted spindles on the long dreamed of front porch recently added to my parents big farmhouse.
This display case reminds me of my mother’s cabinets.
This bouquet in the mason jar reminds me of the huge vases of fresh flowers Mary arranges and brings in weekly when our flower gardens are in season…
I would be very curious, Mary, to see what sort of bouquet you would arrange in one of these vases.
Or perhaps not. They are really not quite Wisconsin farmhouse vases. This long plank table, though, reminds me of the huge Amish crafted wooden table at home- albeit with an added abstract expressionist Southwest twist entirely missing from my Wisconsin home.
This next little table, on the other hand? It reminds me, rather sorely, of the beautiful beat up weathered splintery table in my basement, that I lobbied my husband to include as part of our home decor. Sadly, he was not supportive of the splintery beauty. I love half refinished things, and he does Not. Mary, perhaps something like this could be included in your future home?
I have always loved the idea of being a painter, and having a light drenched studio, and sort of generally being surrounded by half painted canvases and the like. Sadly I have slim to no talent with visual arts, included but not limited to basic painting of walls, so (to the relief of my husband, I am sure) I will stick with the harp and dancing, and gazing at the Abstract Expressionist Spring displays at Anthropologie.
Aren’t they pretty? Note to Mary: perhaps you might want to think about lampshades?
Actually, perhaps I should think about and actually purchase multiple lampshades, and in fact a lamp. Mine run the gamut from ripped to scorched. But back to the topic of imaginary bedrooms in imaginary Painter’s Lofts. I fell head over heels for this platform bed.
Oh man. Everything about this is so alluring to me. The bare drywall, high platform, exposed pipes, and dangling wire. The suggestion that this bed exists in a huge open space with glazed windows and light pouring in. I examined it from multiple angles, lost in imagination…
and only returned to earth and practicality when my very good friend pointed out that it sure was a high bed for a toddler to fall off of. True. This fact reminded me that years ago I did live in a one room cabin with a loft bed and a wall of windows and no running water and an extension cord just like that one running mysteriously in the window and down the hill, from whence came power. I loved the beauty and the loneliness of that time- but I swore to myself that when I had a toddler, I would also have running water, and rooms, and stairs instead of a ladder. And I do, and I’m grateful for it… but if I did have a loft bed (and loft life!) I would definitely have a blue parrot chair.
Perhaps I would also have a drafting table, in this fantasy life. Possibly computers have replaced the drafting table, but that is no trouble in my fantasy world, where one could also drink whiskey in a haze of blue smoke while drafting Howard Roark-ian masterpieces of modern architecture.
I could of course mix additional drinks in my southwestern inspired kitchen…
And then, exhausted, I could repose upon this worn leather sofa for rest, respite, and further inspiration.
Ah, this fantasy life is exhausting- but there are bits of every scene that I’d love to bring into my world. The bright pillow on the couch, for example? That I can do. I also have a drawer full of beautiful napkins like the ones in this basket, although they are currently only used to occupy the toddler who throws them on the floor and then stuffs them back in the drawer.
I could always browse through this coffee table book for ideas.
Or simply continue to seek inspiration from my little sister Mary, who seems to have a great grasp of modern vintage style, and who regularly plots and plans in journals that look a lot like these.
Come to think of it, I have a couple books like that myself- it’s just a matter of using them. For me, that reminder is one of the best things about a trip to Anthropologie. It is good to be reminded that there is such potential for beauty all around us- even in a life without a platform loft bed, painting studio, or drafting table. And with that, I am off to look for beauty in my own humble home- quite possibly while wearing bright and flowing printed clothing.
Till next time!
For more Sweet Ridge Sisters posts on Anthropologie, see here: