The Ginkgo Tree

Ever since I was young, I was enamored of the ginkgo tree. I love the shape of its leaves and the uniformity of its signature vibrant yellow hue during the autumn months. It seems I am not alone, either. The tree, also known as the maidenhair tree, is native to China and was considered beautiful enough to be planted on the sacred grounds of Buddhist temples. It was first cultivated in North America in 1784 in Philadelphia and is now planted worldwide as a landscape plant.  The fan-like shape of the ginkgo leaf has been used as a decorative motif for centuries: from furniture to jewelry, wallpaper to textiles.
My friend Lori Coleman photographed this ginkgo tree in her back yard last month. Lori, who lives in Culpepper, Virginia, shares my love of ginkgo trees. I love the light in this shot and the vibrancy of the yellow leaves.

The ginkgo’s charm may lie in its resilience. It is one of the oldest trees in the world. Modern ginkgoes are virtually the same as fossil specimens of the same species dating back more than 100 million years. The only plant older than the ginkgo is the fern. Much like the fern, the ginkgo reproduces itself using ovules that are fertilized by motile sperm, which are released by pollen grains when the tree germinates. There is a ginkgo grove planted not too far from where I work and I love visiting it this time of year on my walk home to marvel at the swatch of vibrant yellow and the striking shape of the fallen leaves. 

Martha also loves ginkgo trees and has many planted at her farm in Bedford. Below are some beautiful examples of the ginkgo - both in its natural state and as a decorative motif in art, furniture and textiles.
I collected these ginkgo leaves several weeks ago at a park near my home and pressed them to preserve them. They look striking against this black background.
From left to right: ginkgo patterned sateen by artist Kristina Isola for Marimekko; "Pigeons on a Ginkgo Branch" by artist Ohara Koson; ginkgo soft-ground etching by California artist Sharon Parolini.
 These Art-Nouveau style chairs are made of cast bronze by Parisian-born artists Claude and Francois Lalanne. They use the ginkgo motif in their work to striking effect.
This ginkgo-motif pumpkin was the starring attraction in the October, 2010, issue of Martha Stewart Living. The rug on the right from Anthropologie is called the Tufted Ginkgo Carpet.
Martha's ginkgo tree is original to her property in Bedford, New York. It is more than 250 years old with a trunk measuring more than 13 feet in circumference. Martha has designed a 'boxwood room' adjacent to her Summer House with the giant ginkgo as its centerpiece. She has planted several more ginkgo trees along the perimeter.


Find me on Instagram

Hi friends! My partner and I recently made the leap to mobile technology (we're late bloomers!) and we are enjoying our iPhones immensely. My favourite feature on the phone is the camera. I love how simple it is to take snapshots in the moment. I still use my very good Canon digital camera for important photography but for impromptu occasions, I love being able to use something as sleek and effective as an iPhone. I recently joined Instagram and I'm inviting Martha Moments readers to follow me. I have only recently begun to add photos to my account, but I'm hoping that there will be many more in the coming months and years. Find me @ dreamboat76!


New Martha Stewart Wall Art Decals

Today, Martha Stewart Living and Fathead LLC., a Michigan-based company, announced the launch of a new line of wall-art decals. The decorative wall graphics are inspired by nature, collectibles and classic architectural details with over 50 individual designs in 400 variations: a beautiful array of colours, sizes and styles is available.

Martha says, "Decorative wall decals have become such a fun, interesting option for decorating your home, and I love how creative you can be with them. Our wall decals are beautiful and easy to use, and they're a wonderful way for us to help our consumer with solutions and inspiration that are quick and affordable."

The designs can be seen and ordered at Fathead.com and come in a variety of price points. Click here to see the full line. Below are some of my favourites from the new collection.


Countdown to Christmas!

New episodes of ''Martha's Countdown to Christmas'' begin tomorrow! The popular web series is in its third season and is available to view only at marthastewart.com/countdown. In each segment, Martha reveals her favourite Christmas crafts, DIY decorating ideas and holiday recipes. I've always enjoyed this series and look forward to the next chapters. Click here to watch past episodes of the series, and new episodes beginning November 14th.


The December/January Issue

The December/January issue of Martha Stewart Living will be on newsstands November 17th, but some subscribers have already begun to receive their issues in the mail. Martha Moments reader Kevin Link sent in this scan of the cover, which I think is really gorgeous. Kevin says he feels this issue is "one of the best December issues in recent memory" and was very inspired by the content on its pages. It is filled with craft ideas, DIY decor and all kinds of incredible recipes for holiday baking. This is the last issue that MSLO will produce in-house. Beginning with the next issue (February, 2015) the magazine will be produced and circulated by Meredith Corp., a company that Martha has partnered with to handle the magazine's ad sales, production and circulation. I can't wait to get my copy of this festive-looking issue!


New Real Weddings Special Issue Out Next Week

Scan the newsstands on November 10th for the Fall 2014 issue of Real Weddings, a bi-annual special issue from Martha Stewart Weddings. On the cover are design specialist Brooke Sirianni and her husband Shea Foley, a partner in the socially-conscious men's fashion site Apolis. The magazine takes you to their stunning Southern California wedding where clean stripe motifs and a crisp cream palette defined the occasion. Click here to see more photographs from this wedding.


"Shea’s mentor, Pastor Milt Richards, officiated at the alfresco ceremony, on the lawn of a family friend’s residence in Shea’s hometown of Temecula. The bridesmaids processed to a guitar version of Philip Phillips’s Sea of Love, then Brooke entered to an instrumental rendition of Coldplay’s Strawberry Swing. The couple exchanged vows in a Christian service set against rolling hills and a cross that Shea’s dad constructed from reclaimed wood.

At the end of the ceremony, guests tossed white rose petals at the newlyweds. The petals were stashed in paper bags stamped with “Shower the Foleys” in the same calligraphy style as the invites."

* Ten couples share their one-of-a-kind celebrations
* 92 pages of dresses, flowers, cakes and DIY design
* Seasonal hair and beauty tips


The New Beekman 1802 Bedding & Furniture Collections

My friends Brent Ridge and Josh Kilmer-Purcell, founders of the Beekman 1802 brand, have finally unveiled their new bedding and furniture collections. It has been more than a year since I heard they were working on furniture, lighting and bed-linen designs and now we get to see these designs fully realized! To say that I am impressed by the beauty of the designs would be an understatement. I am actually quite gobsmacked by how astoundingly gorgeous their vision of home furnishing is: deeply inspired by history with a true commitment to quality. While I have not yet seen the collection in person, I am encouraged by the high level of craftsmanship they employ when designing and making all of their products. (You can read all the details of each item in the collection by visiting the Beekman 1802 Shop.) 

I am so proud of the burgeoning home and lifestyle brand these intrepid entrepreneurs are building. Below are samples of some of my favourite picks from their new collections. I hope you will find them as beautiful as I do.
THE BELLVALE COLLECTION: Beekman 1802 has created four new bedding collections, each one based on elements of a historic American town. Above is the Bellvale Collection, shown on the Beekman 1802 Hollywood Hotel bed, which is upholstered in linen. Bellvale, NY, was part of a land grant from Queen Anne in 1703. New world settlers were drawn to the area because of the abundant timber, game and water power. The Bellvale bedding collection is inspired by the currents of that creek and all of the creativity and craftsmanship that it powered.
THE FULTON COLLECTION: The industrial nature of Fulton, NY, led to a very stable workforce for many years. In fact, during the Great Depression of the early 1930s, the New York Sun newspaper wrote a lengthy article featuring Fulton, its residents and the strong local economy. It was headlined as, "Fulton, the City the Great Depression Missed." That type of work-ethic and the natural colorful beauty of New York State inspired the Fulton bedding line, shown here on the Beekman 1802 Hotel Adler Bed.
THE SANGERFIELD COLLECTION: In the mid-1800s, the development of railway service through the town of Sangerfield made the area a major shipping point for all kinds of manufacturing, including textiles. It’s a town that has long survived on its own steam (literally), and it has inspired the varied and eclectically beautiful elements making up the Sangerfield bedding collection.
THE STILLWATER COLLECTION: During the Revolutionary War, the Battle of Stillwater was a turning point toward American independence. Independent spirit. Free spirit. American spirit. Those are the things that inspire our Stillwater bed designs.
BEEKMAN 1802 FURNITURE: The new furniture collection is also a marvel and there is scarcely enough space here to showcase all of my favourite pieces from the line, which includes bedroom, living- and dining-room pieces (beds, cabinets, drawer units, tables, sofas, chairs), as well as rugs and lighting. Please visit their online furniture gallery to see all of their amazing new designs. If you happen to be in Sharon Springs, New York, where Beekman 1802 is headquartered, you can visit the Beekman 1802 Merchantile to see the pieces yourself in their new furniture emporium, located above their shop on Main Street.