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New Beginnings

For any of you who stumble upon this site or might still get the posts in your blog reader, I wanted to let you know that I am writing again: I have joined the Classic Play family, where I’ll be offering inspiration and ideas for your home.

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Several months have passed since I stopped writing Charlotte’s Fancy, and I have come to realize that I miss having the creative outlet. Because I am not able to write every day, contributing guest posts to Classic Play is just what I need to fulfill my creative urges.

Classic Play has long been one of my favorite blogs (I hate calling it a blog, actually, because it’s really so much more than that). It’s charming, it’s thoughtful, it’s creative. The ideas and inspiration are modern, yet remind me of the kinds of activities I did when I was a kid. Perhaps most importantly, it feels like a community.

I feel honored to be a part of Jennifer Cooper’s team. If you enjoyed reading Charlotte’s Fancy, and you aren’t already a Classic Play reader, I hope you will join me there.


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A Fond Farewell

You may have noticed that I’ve had trouble keeping up with Charlotte’s Fancy so far this year. I had a feeling this would happen once I decided not to publish blog posts on a daily basis. The truth is, I’ve finally run out of steam after nearly five years.

There are so many people out there doing this SO much better than I do – whose originality and passion amaze me day in and day out. I decided that my last blog post should be dedicated to some of the ones that I love the best:

Scandinavian Design Favorites

Swedish home via La Maison d'Anna G

Cozy Norwegian dining room

Muuto new All the Way to Paris collection photo by Petra Bindel

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Best of Graphic Design / Paper / Patterns 

Wrapping paper by Mini Mega

Fifi Mandirac notebooks

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All Around Greatness

Ferm Living bread boards

Styled tabled by Griottes

Reading corner via la maison d'anna g

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For the Kids

Cardboard houses for kids

Washi tape car track overhead shot by le jardin de juliette

Kids bedroom in Berlin

Images 1, 2, 3

Crafty Favorites & Supporting Handmade

Felt ball garlands

Embroidered screen by Aesthetic Outburst

diy-confetti-tablecloth-table by Oh Happy Day

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Isn’t it awe-inspiring how many bloggers there are all around the world  – all of them with a desire to create and express their ideas and share with others? Even this list is a pretty small portion of the blogs I subscribe to.

Words cannot adequately describe how much I’ve gotten from this experience over the years. The joy of building a community and meeting so many caring, like-minded people, and the gratitude for having a creative outlet when I needed it are just two of the many reasons this has been invaluable to me.

Thanks for sharing this space with me. Thanks for your kind words of encouragement along the way.


p.s. if you haven’t already, please connect with me on Twitter and Pinterest

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Storm Relief: How You Can Help

Hi guys! Thanks to all of you for your kind words as we deal with the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. My family and I are just fine, though still without power probably for a few more days. I’m at my office today, happy to have the comforts of electricity and an internet connection.

I tend to avoid sharing the boring details of my life, including my job, but now seems like a good time to talk about it. I work for a philanthropy, and we give money to nonprofit organizations all throughout New Jersey.

Although it’s probably not something you give much thought to, you and I – we all – benefit from the tireless efforts of nonprofits every day. They preserve our land and protect our water quality. They offer an amazing assortment of after school programs for our kids. They give us museums and theatres and dance performances. They provide food and counseling and shelter to the most vulnerable in our communities.

In times like this, when a natural disaster has devastated people’s homes and disrupted their lives indefinitely, it’s heartwarming to see such an outpouring of generosity. But invariably, the emergency funds run out, the media moves on to the next big story, and people forget that it takes months – even years – to rebuild communities.

If you want to help with Hurricane Sandy relief, the biggest impact you can have is to donate to the nonprofits here in New Jersey. I’m not talking about the Red Cross or the United Way – though they would welcome your donations too. Those big organizations are focused on immediate needs. I’m talking about the individual nonprofits that work every day to make our lives and our communities better and who will desperately need the support in the months to come as New Jersey rebuilds.

If you want specific suggestions for nonprofits to support, I’d recommend any of the organizations that my foundation gives to. You can find them all here (just click on any of the listings to get their contact info). Note on the left side of the page that you can filter the organizations by “Arts,” “Education,” “Environment,” and “Media” – which are the categories of nonprofits that our foundation gives to.

If you want personal recommendations from me, please email me: charlottesfancy [at] gmail [dot] com, and I will give you a list of my favorites organizations here in New Jersey.  (See below for my personal recommendations)

Thanks again for your support and kind wishes. I hope to be back to my regular blogging schedule soon.

UPDATE: I decided it would be easier just to list some of my favorites here:

Elijah’s Promise not only feeds fresh, hot food to people who need it, they also offer culinary training (a path to a job) and cooking classes for families, and operate a pay-what-you-can cafe called Better World Cafe in my town. They are pioneers in breaking the cycle of poverty in New Jersey.

Clean Ocean Action is a grassroots organization dedicated to protecting water quality in New Jersey. They have fought for years to keep our water from being polluted and our beaches safe and clean. They will be instrumental to the on-the-ground recovery efforts along the New Jersey coast.

WFMU is the most innovative radio station in New Jersey, and I have learned so much from them about building community. Their operations were hit hard by the storm. I love these guys and would be thrilled if people could help them.

Sayreville Pet Adoption Center is a no kill animal shelter that provides a warm, safe home for cats and dogs until they can be adopted by families. We got our dog Daisy from here and know from experience that they care deeply about animals.

New Jersey Audubon Society is one of the most respected and forward-thinking environmental groups in New Jersey. They are stewards of 34 beautiful sanctuaries across New Jersey, and spend each day fighting to protect our land and our animals, especially the endangered and threatened species.


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Hurricane Sandy

Irene Suchocki seascape photo

Seascape photo by Irene Suchocki

Friends: I live in New Jersey, which is expected to take the brunt of Hurricane Sandy. Depending on the severity of the storm and flooding, I may lose power for an extended time. So if I’m not publishing daily blog posts, you know why.

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Mad Men: The Game

In honor of last night’s Mad Men premiere, have a turn with this clever Mad Men video game made to look like an old school video game, by The Fine Brothers Productions:

Did you watch the show? I was very happy to see my boyfriend Don Draper Roger Sterling again.

On an unrelated note: hello to all of my new blog subscribers! I’m so happy you’re here.

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25 Ways To Wear a Scarf

If you wear scarves, you will love this adorable and useful video by Wendy Nguyen of Wendy’s Lookbook who shows us (in just four and a half minutes!) 25 different ways to wear a scarf:

If you like what you see, you can visit her website, and see her other videos on her YouTube channel.

Video: Wendy Nguyen/Wendy’s Lookbook

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Ta Daaaa!

Charlotte’s Fancy has a new look! I hope you like it.

Special thanks to Dionne of Studio Chic Design.

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Nothing Gold Can Stay*

A funny thing happened on the way to my blog post.

I was going to write about making solar prints, a fun family activity and something I used to love doing as a kid. But I have to write instead about Rosa’s preschool, which is a place that I’ve poured my heart and time into for the last twelve months as the Board President. Wednesday was Rosa’s last day at the school, and I’ve been feeling alternately proud of her as a student and a bit weepy that she’s growing up so fast. And weepy, too, to say goodbye to her teacher Lolly (at least as a daily part of our lives) and the amazing classroom Rosa played in every day.

Pine Grove is a lovely, sweet little school; it’s the kind of school that seems like it barely exists anymore. (Or maybe never did exist quite like this anywhere else). In Rosa’s classroom, she could put on a pair of goggles and pound away with a real hammer and nails as much as she wanted. She could saw wood with real, honest-to-goodness saws. Find that hard to believe? See for yourself:

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Sometimes they got to use a power drill or the sewing machine. Sometimes they folded paper airplanes and spent two hours throwing them around the room.

Because that’s how Pine Grove rolls.

Rosa’s teacher Lolly is, I am certain, that one extraordinary teacher whom Rosa will remember for the rest of her life. I think Lolly is extraordinary too. For one thing, she spends all year making notes about each of the kids in her class and takes photos of them. At the end of the year, she puts it all together in portfolios for the parents as a keepsake. Mind you, this is not state or school-mandated. It’s just something she does.

So, I now own pages and pages of notes about Rosa and her behavior and her skills and her likes and strengths that I can cherish for many many years:

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She also gave each family a little photo album and a CD filled with pictures of our kids. I can’t even express what treasures all of these things are.

On the last day of school, Lolly gave me a few special, thoughtful gifts that touched me so much, including some really amazing notecards, using photos of both of my daughters. Each one of the cards in the entire set has a different photo on the front:

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And then she and the two other teachers surprised me with several potted flowers that they left on my porch that morning. (You’re ignoring the chipping paint on my stairs, right?)


Lordy, I hope I don’t kill them. Sometimes I do well with gardening, sometimes I am ten black thumbs. Don’t ask what happened to my dad’s jade plant. Oy.

But I digress.

Fortunately, Lolly lives only a few blocks away from us, so we hope to keep seeing her as much as we can. Plus, I agreed to be the Alumni representative to the Board next year, so I’ve got another year’s worth of board meetings. I guess I wasn’t ready to let go.

I have to mention (show you) one last thing that my fellow board members presented me with on the last day of school, on behalf of the school:

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Can you see all around the edge are little pictures of all the children at the school?

I think I am pretty lucky.

Happy weekend to everyone. Here’s to hoping it’s warm and sunny.

Nature’s first green is gold
Her hardest hue to hold.

Her early leaf’s a flower;
But only so an hour.

Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,

So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.

Robert Frost.

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ode to my team

I know this really doesnt count as a post, but I have to pay a little homage to my team. We could hear the roar of the stadium from our house last night, and then, upon that final game-over pitch, the whole city seemed to pour out of their homes and onto Broad Street. Poor Charlotte woke up in my baby backpack while we were walking up to Broad Street…It was crazy and we didn’t stay long, but man, what a great week for our home city!!! We are taking Friday off and going to the parade, which promises to be quite a party.

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