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Archives for May 13, 2013

Fashion and the avant-garde: How Chanel No. 5 distilled an epoch

In 1954, Jean Cocteau wrote of Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel, “she has, through a sort of miracle, worked in the world of fashion following rules that only seemed valid for painters, musicians and poets.”

Missing from his observation is the fact that painters, musicians and poets such as Salvador Dali, Francis Picabia, Igor Stravinsky, Guillaume Apollinaire and Cocteau himself just happened to be some of Chanel’s closest friends.

And now a new show at the Palais de Tokyo in Paris aims to convey how these avant-garde artists also influenced the creation of arguably the most famous perfume in the world: Chanel No. 5.

In the age of the fashion blockbuster exhibition, No. 5 Culture Chanel represents a departure. There are neither mannequins nor a flashy mise-en-scène. The walls have been left bare and the objects – from a bronze Brancusi head to the original, rounder No. 5 flaçon – are housed in a sprawling runway of faceted glass vitrines.

Chanel enlisted Piet Oudolf, who was responsible for the landscaping of New York’s High Line elevated park, to create a subterranean garden that will remain a permanent part of the Palais de Tokyo (the 7,000 flowers and plants are still getting used to their new home).

Artistic director Jean-Louis Froment says he wanted to get past the story of the scent’s creation (Chanel literally chose the fifth scent that was presented to her by perfumer Ernest Beaux) and explore how the perfume defined a period of great change and radical ideas.

“It is the portrait of an object,” Froment explains in an interview, adding that he wanted to distance the show from the ad campaigns that have helped secure the scent’s status over time.

No. 5 Culture Chanel is the fifth in an international series of museum exhibitions mounted by Chanel (the previous four took place in Moscow, Shanghai, Beijing, and Guangzhou). The number parallel is not a coincidence; the show opened on May 5 (05/05), the same day the perfume was first offered for sale 82 years ago in the designer’s boutique at 31 rue Cambon. If not entirely superstitious, Chanel believed strongly in symbols (her apartment above the store, preserved in perfect condition, is filled with talismans symbolizing health and good fortune).

When Chanel No. 5 debuted in 1921, women were accustomed to wearing perfumes that smelled of a single flower. No. 5 was comparatively complex; not only did it contain several floral notes – jasmine, rose, ylang ylang – it also included aldehydes, synthetic organic compounds that added body to the scent and made it more enigmatic.

Chanel as a fashion brand may be among the most clearly defined of them all: the tweed suits, the little black dresses, the pearls, the camellia flower motif. So it is curious to see how the theme of abstraction works as an essential counterpoint. Fragrance, after all, is arguably even more indecipherable than a cubist painting.

The abstraction also plays out familiarly in pencil drawings by Picasso, Apollinaire’s calligrams and Tristan Tzara’s Dada journal. Of the 220 artifacts on display, the majority help bolster the notion that Chanel believed that the perfume world was prime for its abstract period, too.

Items included from Chanel’s later years include Warhol’s silk-screened interpretations of the bottle circa 1985 and a shot of Marilyn Monroe provocatively dabbing herself with the juice before the premiere of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (it was Monroe who, unsolicited, told journalists in 1954 she wore “five drops of Chanel No. 5” to bed and nothing else).

Noticeably absent: the recent ad campaign featuring Brad Pitt, the first man to be the perfume’s face. It’s as if anything too commercial would have weakened the “cultural” positioning.

“It was absolutely necessary to stop talking about perfume and No. 5 with the same marketing stories,” says Froment. “Instead, [I wanted to look at] at what happened with the stories in her books, in her life and all around her.”

And yet he is adamant that No. 5 – perfume, bottle design or both – is not a piece of art.

“It is a concept but it is not art,” he says.

Does Jacques Polge, the director of Chanel Parfums since 1978, feel differently?

“Mme. Chanel talked about being an artisan. And me, I would consider myself as an artisan, too,” he says. “Today, everyone thinks of themselves as artists!”

No. 5 Culture Chanel runs until June 5.

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Chch project hits delays

ZBTV: AOS callout in Albany

Monday, May 13, 2013

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The Environment: Eco-friendly landscaping topic of talk

Learn how to achieve a beautiful chemical-free lawn or garden that is safe for children and pets, has healthy plants and also conserves water. It’s less work, costs less money to maintain and is eco-friendly, too.

The Lake Gardner Improvement Association and the Amesbury Public Library will sponsor “Greenscapes 101,” a free presentation by The Greenscapes Coalition, on Tuesday, May 14.

Cynthia Ingelfinger, outreach coordinator of Ipswich River Watershed Association, will discuss landscaping practices that have less impact on the environment, particularly with regard to irrigation and chemical use.

“I saw this presentation two years ago at the Hamilton-Wenham Public Library,” said LGIA treasurer John Brucker. “Greenscapes basically does educational outreach for best practice for landscaping so it will have less impact on the environment. People can act as environmental stewards in their own backyards.

“What we’re concerned about is keeping Lake Gardner clean. This is about people caring for their yards in a certain way to minimize water run-off and fertilizer run-off.”

The LGIA is an association of residents formed to advocate for Lake Gardner and its surrounding open and wooded spaces known as the Powow Conservation Area. Its goals are to see that:

The health and features of the lake are both restored and protected.

The water quality is monitored and improved.

The lake’s value as an educational and passive recreational resource is promoted.

The LGIA was organized by Mary Schuberth to repair the Lake Gardner dam after the flood damaged it in 1996. Once the dam work was completed, the group went on to lobby to keep the Lake Gardner Beach gates open for year-round access. The group didn’t stop there.

Committed to promoting recreational use of the beach, lake and trails that comprise the green space along the side of Powow, the LGIA includes members and volunteers from the community who view the Lake Gardner green space as an important asset to Amesbury and are working to improve and extend its accessibility to all.

“Anyone who uses the lake on a regular basis will have seen a dramatic increase in the vegetation in the lake in the last few years,” said Bruce Georgian, an LGIA member and chairman of the Amesbury Lakes and Waterways Committee. “This vegetation crowds out boating, swimming and fishing opportunities. It’s caused by excessive nutrients in the water that come from run-off containing fertilizer.”

It’s very simple. When a homeowner or farmer uses fertilizer, that same fertilizer ends up in Amesbury waterways fertilizing the weeds that clog the lakes, streams and rivers.

“When water runs off, it goes somewhere,” Georgian said. “Sometimes people think they don’t live near a river, but storm drains empty directly into the nearest stream.”

How homeowners care for their lawns or backyards has a direct impact on the water quality in Lake Gardner and the Powow River, Lake Attitash, and ultimately the Merrimack River.

“In place of the lawn, use plant native plants that need little or no chemical fertilizers and require less watering,” Brucker said. “You’ll be creating an ecosystem more suitable for the climate than a lawn.”

Create a greenscape.

“Greenscapes are beautiful landscapes that protect our water,” states

The Greenscapes Massachusetts program, a collaborative education and outreach effort sponsored primarily by the Greenscapes Massachusetts Coalition.

The Greenscapes Massachusetts program seeks to:

n educate citizens and professionals about landscaping practices (particularly irrigation and chemical use) to have less impact on the environment;

n create an informed and proactive citizenry that acts as environmental stewards in their own backyards; and

n generate broad support for the responsible public management of water resources (quality and quantity).

Today’s Greenscapes Massachusetts is based on the successful program originally developed on the South Shore in 2002 by the North and South Rivers Watershed Association and the Massachusetts Bays National Estuary Program.

“Greenscapes 101” will cover the basic steps homeowners can take to create eco-friendly lawns, gardens and backyards, including how to decrease the size of their lawns, increase the number of native plants, and use less water, which will save money.

“The perception is that irrigation is good,” Brucker said, “but in reality 80 percent of it is run-off that goes into the catch basin rather than into the lawn.

“You will learn how to make rain an asset by redirecting run-off from the roof and driveway, building a rain garden, and using a rain barrel. She will also talk about fertilizer alternatives that are less expensive than chemicals and better for the environment.”

Using native plants and avoiding invasive plants is an important part of creating a greenscape. Ingelfinger will discuss the various types of native trees, perennials, shrubs, and ground covers, and avoiding invasive species such as purple loosestrife and bittersweet.

Now that spring is finally here, homeowners are getting outside and working in their yards. The time is now to create a greenscape and “Greenscapes 101” is a good introduction.


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Stone Creek opens store at the Crossroads Mall

There’s something new at the Crossroads Mall. Stone Creek Landscape Nursery Inc., 2620 200th St., has opened a showroom and store at 117 S. 25th St., a location that for many years housed a Blockbuster video store.

The outlet is designed to make Stone Creek’s many offerings more readily visible to a wider audience of potential customers, said Shirley Seagren, co-owner of the company.

“What motivated us was to bring some of our plant material to the hub of the shopping area,” Seagren said. “Because, when people go to the nursery, they are on a mission. They pretty much know what the want and why they are going there. We are probably missing a little bit of that spontaneous buyer. So, we decided to bring it here.”

Article Photos

-Messenger photo by Hans Madsen
Stone Creek Landscape Nursery co-owner Shirley Seagren, left, along with Dani Doty, right, look through a book of landscaping ideas while surrounded by monuments featuring various branches of the armed services at their new retail location in the former Blockbuster building by the Crossroads Mall.

Stone Creek’s Crossroads Mall store has only been in operation for a short time. It was launched March 22. Even so, Seagren said she is bullish about its potential.

“The exposure is great,” she said.

The new showroom displays a sampling of the much-more extensive plant selection available at Stone Creek’s nursery. Seagren said in addition to offering a variety of popular standards, Stone Creek has put an emphasis on stocking items that are not readily available elsewhere locally.

“We look for unique items, whether it’s in the store or in the nursery,” she said. “We have a lot of different things that you probably wouldn’t find unless you ordered it.”

The selection of plant material in the store reflects that approach.

“What we have in this store right now are shrubs and perennials,” Seagren said. “New this year that you probably aren’t going to find anyplace else are potted perennials. We’re kind of replacing the hanging annual baskets with perennial baskets.

She said customers are gravitating toward container planting in part because the plants can be moved around. Additionally, the potted perennials have the advantage that they can be planted in the fall.

More than plants

The new store has a diverse array of products. Seagren said she and her co-owner husband, Dell Seagren, decided to feature in the Crossroads Mall outlet only products made in the United States

“We’ve got the plant material,” Seagren said. “We’ve got outdoor, made-in-the-USA, maintenance-free lawn furniture. And we’ve got our own line that we’ve designed and manufactured of metal yard decor.”

The lawn furniture is something that is very much in sync with today’s emphasis on environmentally friendly merchandise.

“It’s made from recycled milk jugs by a company in Minnesota,” Seagren explained. “It is guaranteed for 35 years not to fade, rust or crack.”

She also said the contoured backs and seats of the chairs make them a more comfortable fit for the human body than are some competing products on the market.

The metal yard decor is not only made in the USA, it’s produced right here in Fort Dodge.

“We design it and have it manufactured in Fort Dodge,” Seagren said.

She said this product line was added by Stone Creek this year.

“We’ve searched for the last two seasons to find American-made metal decor and we couldn’t find it,” Seagren said, explaining the company’s decision to produce metal decor items locally.

Decorative stones are also proving a big seller for Stone Creek.

“We’ve got our poured-concrete stones that are made in Iowa,” Seagren said. “They are made in the Des Moines area.”

She said these items can be customized vis-a-vis size and the message they convey. Particularly popular are decorative stones that celebrate the collegiate background of the homeowner.

Consistent with the made-in-the-USA theme, the store even offers a line of jeans produced in Texas that are 100 per cent American-made. “The cotton is grown here,” Seagren said. “The thread is made here, and the rivets that are on the back of the jeans are also made in the USA.”

Wall of Honor

Anyone who visits the store will quickly discover that it also features a commemorative Wall of Honor.

“That’s for all military to come in and sign the wall,” Seagren said. “I would really like to make people aware of our Wall of Honor. It’s part of what Stone Creek is. … I love to talk to military people. Their stories are awesome. … I would like to get 500 names on that wall before Memorial Day and 1,000 by July 4.”

She said the Wall of Honor is way to pay tribute to people who have served the nation in the military in years gone by or are serving now.

About Stone Creek Landscape Nursery

Stone Creek Landscape Nursery, founded less than a decade ago, has become a multifaceted enterprise.

It offers extensive landscaping services, has a large garden and nursery, provides an array of irrigation options and markets yard and patio furniture and a variety of decorative products to enhance lawns, gardens and patios.

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Rain Garden Workshop, Native Plant Sale in Plymouth

The rain garden workshop “Beautify Your Yard, Protect Our Lakes” is 6 to 9 p.m. Tuesday, May 21, at St. Barnabas Lutheran Church. A native plant sale is 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, May 25, at the church. 

Participants will learn about watershed management, storm water runoff and rain garden basics including design, installation and maintenance of rain gardens using native plants. The workshop will also teach participants to learn how to landscape for curb appeal while maintaining clean lakes. Professional designers will be on location to offer hands-on assistance as participants plan a rain garden project. 

“These workshops are geared toward residents who have issues with excess water in their yards or burdensome lawn maintenance, who are interested in enhancing native wildlife or have a general affinity for improving water quality,” said Derek Asche, Plymouth’s Water Resources Manager. 

Metro Blooms Native Plant Sale will feature a wide variety of native flowering plants and grasses to add color, variety and habitat value to landscaping. The sale will offer options for rain gardens, shoreline restoration and colorful gardens to attract birds and butterflies. 

“Having the plant sale four days after the workshop is convenient for those who attended the workshop, created a plan and now just need to purchase the plants,” Asche said. 

The workshop and native plant sale are sponsored by the city of Plymouth, Metro Blooms and the Bassett Creek, Elm Creek, Shingle Creek and West Mississippi Watershed Management organizations. 

For more information, call 651-699-2426 or visit Registration for the workshop can be done online, over the phone or by mailing a $15 check, payable to Metro Blooms, to Rain Garden Workshop Registration, P.O. Box 17099, Minneapolis, MN 55417.

(Information provided by a city of Plymouth press release.)

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Gardening Tips and Resources from Across Iowa – Cedar Falls, IA Patch

Now that the snow is finally gone it’s time to think about spring, gardening and lawn care.

Find tips and gardening resources from news outlets across the state below:

The Muscatine Journal has offered tips on what to look for when transplanting seedlings.

Seedlings purchased from a nursery shouldn’t be transplanted immediately into a garden, for instance. And the Des Moines Register has more on hardening plants and vegetables.

And the Gazette offers some advice for lawn treatments

One can find answers to any gardening question from Iowa State University Extension offices, reports the Quad City Times.

Find local offices at

One can also find help from the Iowa State University Hortline from 10 a.m. to noon or 1 to 4:40 p.m. Monday through Friday or at

The Iowa State University Plant and Insect Diagnostic Clinic offers advice on plant disease and insect questions from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday at 515-294-0581 or at or

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Gardening expert shares tips for decorative flower pots – (KNXV

CINCINNATI – Sandra Hassman gets paid to play in the dirt. She specializes in creating decorative flower containers at Greenfield Plant Farm in Anderson Township.

She shared her list for perfect pots.

1. Start with a pot that has good drainage.

“You need drainage holes in the bottom and then you fill it up with a potting soil that’s good quality from your local garden center,” Hassman said.

That’s potting soil, not the heavier garden soil. 

2. Pick plants with a variety of heights, colors, and leaf shapes.

“You can choose something spiky for the middle, and that’s called the thriller. And then something moundy around that that’s called the filler, and then something that trails down the end of the container that’s called the spiller,” she explained.

3. Choose flowers that fit the location.

“If you’re going to use it in the sun, then you want to choose all plants that are for sun. Or if you’re going to use it for shade, pick the shade plants,” advised Hassman

For gardeners with a not-so-green-thumb, Hassman recommended these hardy plants: Cordyline Red Sister in the center as the thriller; billowy blooms such as the fragrant Heliotrope for the surround, or filler; and Creeping Jenny to slide down the side as the spiller.

You can save about $20 per pot by making your own instead of buying them.

Watch “The List” on ABC15 weekdays at 4:30 p.m.

Copyright 2013 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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Grow Your Own in Farmington’s Community Garden, Plus More Tips for the …

It’s Monday, and that means we’ve put together this list of things going on in Farmington-Farmington Hills to help make your week a little brighter, easier and more fun. For a full list of things to do this week, look at the Patch calendar of events.

1. Did you know

Register for the Chesley Street Community Garden. Grow your own fresh herbs, fruit and vegetables. 

2. For your information

The store will be completely remodeled this summer. In order for improvements to take place, dressbarn will close on Monday, May 13, with plans for a Grand Re-Opening, scheduled for Friday, August 16, according to the Downtown Farmington Facebook page.

3. Plan ahead

Summer day camp is just around corner. Sign up today to guarantee your child a spot this summer.

4. For your health

Botsford Hospital brings board-certified urologist Dr. Amy Brode to the May 16 “Walk with a Doc.” At this free community walk, Dr. Brode will tell you everything you want to know about bladder health.

GOODS: Aloe Designs’ DIY Garden Station At The Farmers Market Lets Kids …

May 10, 2013 

Aloe Designs is located at 1443 East Pender Street in Vancouver, BC | 604.568.7324 |

The GOODS from Aloe Designs

Vancouver, BC | If fresh, local edibles and a stroll around Trout Lake in the sunshine aren’t enough to tempt you to the Vancouver Farmers Market this spring, local landscape-design group Aloe Designs is offering free mini workshops geared to families. Aloe Designs is hosting a DIY station at the May 11, May 25, and June 1 Trout Lake markets to teach parents and kids how to grow food at home, support our native bee population, and improve biodiversity. Kids–and adults!–are invited to get their hands dirty and learn about gardening while creating something special to take home.

Designers will be on hand to chat about sustainable gardening methods and offer advice on incorporating kid- and eco-friendly garden activities at home. They are, of course, also happy to take inquiries about landscape design services. Details after the jump…

May 11, 9:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m.
Trout Lake Farmers Market DIY Station

Cartoon Cress: Learn how to make your very own container using a toilet-paper roll covered in recycled comics. Plant up cress and other quick-to-germinate edibles that offer near-instant gratification and nicely demonstrate the “build, fill, plant, water, grow” process.


May 25, 9:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m.
Trout Lake Farmers Market DIY Station

Mason Bee Houses: Mason bees are hard-working native pollinators that increase biodiversity in your garden. Support their population by building your own mason bee house. Assemble and take home a mason bee house constructed from reclaimed wood. You will also learn how to make nesting tubes out of recycled newspaper.


June 1, 9:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m.
Trout Lake Farmers Market DIY Station

Canned Food: Get your tomato and basil seedlings off to a good start by planting them in recycled cans. Decorate your tin with crayons, paper, and glue, and learn how to transfer the delicate starts into the garden when the plants are ready to grow wild.


1443 East Pender Street | Vancouver, BC V5L 1V7
Telephone: 604.568.7324 | Email:
Web: | BlogFacebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Flickr

About The Business

Quite simply, we believe that design matters. That good design can improve lives, cultivate community, and better our environment. Optimistic, perhaps, but it’s why we do what we do.

Aloe Designs helps our clients achieve outdoor living bliss. Yes, we said bliss. Working collaboratively with our clients, we convert boring backyards and problematic patios into outdoor living spaces that are easy to love and hard to leave.

We are a full-service landscape design group with a modern take on garden making, from initial consultation through design and installation. Throughout the process we are committed to using organic, sustainable resources and sourcing locally crafted goods. It’s all part of our vision of creating beautiful garden spaces that reflect our clients’ needs, personalities, and preferences— all while leaving the world a little bit better than we found it.

Move outdoors. Live outside

Key People

Caitlin Black – Partner / Landscape Design Consultant
Owen Black – Partner / Landscape Professional
Matt Kilburn – Landscape Designer


Aloe DesignsAloe DesignsAloe DesignsAloe DesignsAloe DesignsAloe DesignsAloe DesignsAloe DesignsAloe DesignsAloe DesignsAloe DesignsAloe DesignsAloe DesignsAloe Designs

For more information or to discuss an upcoming project please contact us via email at or by phone at 604.568.7324.

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Sliding doors are smart home design details

A sliding door — say, a door of planks hanging from exposed hardware — transforms a room. It’s so eye-catching, so unexpected, that it invites closer looks. It brings smiles.

There are also practical reasons for choosing sliding doors. They can be larger — taller, wider and heavier — than hinged doors. They don’t require open floor space like swinging doors. But mostly, architects and designers love them for their looks.

A sliding door softens a formal room, said Emily Bourgeois, a Charlotte, N.C., designer who used sliding pantry doors in an award-winning kitchen she created for a Charlotte townhouse. The doors were painted a vivid blue and featured exposed hardware.

Any door delivers a message about the space, she said. “So what’s it saying? Let’s all sit up straight? Or please feel free to put your feet on the table?”

Architect Ken Pursley says a large sliding door doesn’t just create an opening in a wall — when opened, it removes the wall. And, like Bourgeois, he appreciates the look: “There is a charm to it. It ‘de-suburbanizes’ the door.”

For all those reasons and more, interest in sliding doors is growing.

You’ll find sliding doors at Lowe’s, Home Depot, Ikea and the Sliding Door Co., which has a showroom in Fort Lauderdale.

What are the basics?

For interiors, architects and designers typically use custom sliding doors built by local craftsmen or, perhaps, vintage doors.

Familiar door makers such as Marvin and Jeld-Wen make quality exterior sliding doors, Pursley said. They’re a good choice, because the barn door style can be hard to seal tightly.

Whatever the style, a sliding door needs to operate smoothly. It’s going to invite attention — and tempt people to give it a try. “It’s very important, if you’re going to use one of these doors, that you use good hardware,” Bourgeois said.

Stanley makes sliding door hardware that’s widely available. At the upper end, the German company Hafele makes sliding door hardware that’s both sculptural and sophisticated. Bourgeois and Pursley prefer hardware from Crown Industrial, a California company.

Beverly Morgan, Crown’s sales manager, said residential sales have been growing the past few years.

The familiar barn door look is especially popular. In that system, the door is hung by rollers from an exposed bar across the top of the door. The exposed hardware — like the hardware on Bourgeois’ award-winning doors — is an important part of the look.

There might be a visible track at the bottom of a sliding door, or there might be a pin on the floor that fits into a slot on the bottom of the door. It’s important to keep heavy sliding doors from swinging and banging to the wall or door frame.

Black hardware for a 3-foot-wide door would be $312; in stainless steel, the cost would be $776.

Sliding doors can define spaces in an open, urban setting and create separations. Need another bedroom? Visit The Sliding Door Co. online ( Customers in New York are latching onto its designs.

“They were using our product to create a nook or bedroom without all those permits and the construction dust,” said Ron Jacobs, president of the East Coast division.

These sliding doors don’t hang; they roll in shallow tracks. There’s a special “slow shut system” that slows the door before it bangs into the frame. They can be installed with a screwdriver and glue gun. Cost depends on style and size, but a door 48 inches wide and 80 inches tall would be about $800.

Lowe’s offers doors suitable for closets. They feature composite frames and tempered frosted glass. These hang, and the doors include matching fascia.

Prices start at about $300. A 72-inch-wide set with five glass panes is listed online for $399.

Here are design tips:

• Use sliding doors to open up a space or create enclosures. They also can make a powerful design statement, setting a tone that is formal or casual. But if a door is a centerpiece, it needs to be one of a kind.

• Pocket doors can hide beautiful wood or other materials inside the walls. Sliding doors put architectural details on display.

• One of the most popular uses for sliding doors is as replacements for sagging bifold doors or dated wood sliding doors on closets.

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