Monday, October 14, 2013

Camp Laugh-a-lotta

“To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty; to find the best in others; to leave the world a bit better; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.”  Ralph Waldo Emerson


At Camp Laughalotta we believe that laughter is the universal language.   Laughter cures most ills, is highly contagious and can melt even the most hardest of hearts.  Our mission at camp is to fully develop the stages of laughter (from the teeniest tinkling of a twitter to the big bold nose chortling and belly guffaws.)  We take this laughing business pretty seriously.


Fun, playful, colorful define the mood and feel for the camp.


The idea for the Bienenstock Furniture Library competition was to create a bold and vibrant activity center at Camp Laughalotta that was fun, kid-friendly, and accessible for all.  Detail to texture including walls and flooring were pivotal in assisting the vision impaired.  A stage that also serves as elevated seating includes a wheelchair accessible ramp with a dressing room and storage in the back.  A nurse's station with frosted and colored tempered glass provide an open and playful feel while still allowing privacy to those inside receiving first aid for minor cuts, scrapes and general booboos.  The tables can quickly be folded away and packed into the the storage facility along with the 30 brightly colored metal stackable chairs.  Cubbies provide storage for the campers while colorful cabinets provide additional stowaway for crafting materials and games.  Fun, tongue-in-cheek rules are displayed along the walls in colorful poster prints.  The additional seating on the stage is for select campers to sit in at meals or at craft time, and are designated as special award seating.

Requiring immediate proximity to the entry of the activity center is the nurse's station, and adjacent to the nurse's station are the two accessible restrooms.  The restrooms needed to be located within a certain distance to the exterior walls.  The stage sits in the middle of the first floor and to the front of the stage are tables and chairs that can quickly be packed away to create open space or audience seating for special presentations.  

Special attention was given to flooring, furniture and finishes.  Although there would seem to be an equal emphasis on color, the color green actually received top billing.  As in GREEN, eco, sustainable.  


First aid blankets
 tactile signage along the walls and halls
 colorful storage
 great patterns and textures
 nurse's station

 stools for nurses station
stage curtains

 folding tables

stacking chairs

house rules

All of these together make for many happy campers at Camp Laugh-a-lotta!

Mont-u-mental field trip

Last Thursday and Friday, in the chilly October rain, my RCC classmates, my amazing instructor, Holly, and I, all set out for a Presidential Passport field trip to the Charlottesville VA area.  We spent quite a bit of time planning our adventure, mapping out where we wanted to stay, and eat, and sites we hoped to see.  The trip was planned for October in anticipation that the fall foliage would be in its peak. We made plans to stay in the Omni Hotel in Charlottesville, eat some yummy food along the way, and visit Montpelier and Monticello.

Our first stop was to get to Charlottesville for lunch at the Nook.  After eating a great lunch, we headed on to our Founding Father of the Bill of Rights, James Madison's home, Montpelier. James Madison was our fourth President of the United States, and helped to write the Constitution that sets the framework for our government.  He married Dolley Madison who was born right here in NC very close to Greensboro.  Dolley was a widowed Quaker who won the eye of James Madison and became his wife.  Dolley was really the original First Lady of the White House, and took great measures in creating a beautiful and social environment.  She won the heart of the nation when she saved the portrait of George Washington from being burned in the War of 1812.

James Madison

Dolley Madison

Dolley Madison saving the portrait of George Washington

Upon approaching Montpelier, we first noticed the pastoral fields and horses.  We stopped in the visitor center and watched a very short film about the Madison family and the home's history.  The home had once been much smaller, but as James Madison gained prestige and married, he added an additional wing to the home that allowed separate spaces for James Madison Sr., and his wife Nelly as well as James Jr., Dolley and Dolley's son, Payne.  I would have to say, that other than the salon that features busts of famous politicians and beautiful paintings, that the gardens were my favorite part of the tour.  I did also enjoy seeing the neat pocket windows that flanked the doors to allow for air circulation.

Below are a few more pictures from Montpelier.

Mini James and Dolley
Dolley set the bar pretty high for Jackie and Michelle
 James and Dolley and Montpelier along with a telephone, walkie talkies and a boom box!

 a soggy entry
 God is in the details
 entry way
 Paolo, the pensive lion 
Baptisto the bashful
 beautiful formal gardens
 I lichen you
 portilaca grandiflora

After a rainy night in Charlottesville, we left our hotel to head to Monticello, the home of third president and author of the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson.  Jefferson's estate was much more grandiose than Madison's, and featured many more original pieces that have been returned to the estate. Mr. Jefferson spent much time in France as Minister to France, and combined with his stays there, and his studies of Andrea Palladio's The Four Books of Architecture, drew up the plans for his home, Monticello, which means "little mountain" in Italian.  Over the years, Monticello grew in size to eventually encompass 11,000 square feet.  I truly enjoyed most every room that we were able to see beginning with the main entry and it's second floor overlook, the great clock that tells the time in seconds, minutes, hours, and days.  I also loved the collected and curated pieces from the Lewis and Clark exploration.  An interesting fact is that Jefferson did not have a formal staircase, and considered them to be a big waste of space and energy; instead, he had 2 very narrow spiral staircases.

Thomas Jefferson

Front Entry

Front Entry

Curated pieces in front entry

 Jefferson's study
 Front entry

Jefferson's dining room was a great space, and our tour guide showed us where dumb waiters for wine were on the sides of the fireplace and must have been used non-stop during the great reunion of the reunion of Jefferson and the Marquis de Lafayette where they partook in almost 300 bottles of wine in less than a weeks time!  Jefferson's office and library were also quite impressive and some of his inventions were on display.  His bedroom featured a neat built in bed between an alcove and a walk-up closet above!  Mr. Jefferson was quite the scientist, and his gardens and grounds were a beautiful reflection of his curiosity of horticulture and plant life.

Dining Room
 Dining room and smaller room 
 built in bed and walk up closet over head

Unfortunately, we weren't able to take pictures of the interior, but luckily, there were a great deal of interior pictures of Monticello available on the internet.

Both of the lives and accomplishments of these men, and their homes are quite impressive, it is also a harsh reminder of the dichotomous lives that they led.  Both estates relied heavily upon the work of slave men and women who were most likely mistreated.  Madison and Jefferson both are on record as to speaking of the abominations of slavery, yet they both relied on slavery, and Jefferson owned more than 600 slaves in his lifetime, yet only granted freedom to 10 of them.   I'm sure that there have been studies on the subject, but it definitely cast a shadow on their character on an already cold and rainy trip.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Domino is BACK!!!!

For those of you who know me, you know that I love home decor books and magazines.  Some of my favorite current publications are Lonny, Sweet Paul, Home Adore, Rue Magazine.  My favorite newsstand or actual, physical magazines include House Beautiful, Elle Decor, Living Etc., and I do love HGTV home as well (especially if there is anything by the lovely and talented, Emily Henderson.)

A few of my favorite magazines that are no longer in print, but I have saved every copy that I ever owned include Blueprint Magazine (which was a Martha Stewart publication) and Domino.  I love my back issues of both of these magazines and look back at them from time to time to draw inspiration. Well, I am absolutely thrilled to read that Domino is BACK baby!  Domino is BACK.  The Holiday edition will be on newsstands, October 8th, and then it looks like four times a year, I can hold in my hands a glossy paged magazine and peruse it anywhere I want!  The Editor in Chief for Domino 2.0 is Michelle Adams who founded Lonny and who was also a part of Domino in its first life.

Here are some of my favorite rooms and photos from previous Domino Magazine editions as well as from the book.  I'm looking forward to more goodies to come!

Domino was probably the most influential magazine in my deciding to study interior design.  Seeing into the homes of famous or up and coming designers like Kelly Wearstler, Jeanine Hayes from Aphrochic, Ruthie Sommers, India Hicks, Miles Redd, and many others.  There were also peeks into the homes of up and coming (or already established actresses and musicians) like Drew Barrymore, Rashida Jones, Julianne Moore, Jenna Lyons (neither actress, nor musician, but I drooled over every single page of Ms. J. Crew's home!)  Quirky and cute pie, Zooey Deschanel was featured in Domino too.

Can you tell I'm really excited about this?  Michelle Adams, bring it on!  I can't wait to see what's in store!
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