The Quest for Quiet

 

Happy New Year!!! 2017

Hi I’m Back

There are times in my life when I feel overwhelmed by too much activity, too many commitments and too much noise. At these moments I know it is time for me to disappear  down the rabbit hole. I have done it before (as many of you have been witness to), when I shut down my website, saying “I have gone fishing,” or when I set up my email reply to read “I am currently on sabbatical”. Or in this last month and a half where the blog pots and the Instagrams evaporated. I just needed some time off. This eternal connection to the world which bombards us with too much information in my opinion , most of which at the end of the day is pretty irrelevant, is what I call the incessant noise of the 21st century. News repeating over and over until you want to yell “Okay I got it!” The screaming voices of the media, the every 5 minute breaking news.  Remember when that meant something really important had just happened? Today it is often as breaking as “my aunt broke her finger nail.” The  pundits pontificating over campaigns and the elections, everyone has an outlet for their voice and an opinion and they are  constantly bellowing at me. The year 21016 reached a cacophony that made me scream : stop!  But wait, it is time for me to stop, as I am shouting and ranting just like them. In my opinion this has become a national, perhaps worldwide, malady. So I have taken a breather to also stop and take a deep breath.

Of course this should have been a new year post but  as seems to be the story of my life, it is a month or more late.– but in my new mind set and as I am not doing surgery or something life threatening who cares?  So yes  I am attempting to slow down, breath, and be quiet. Right now I would grade my success at a C+ \ B- (though those who live around me might raise an eyebrow at that.) But I am trying, with the knowledge that, like the ground hog that emerges next week, perhaps it is time to peak out from my hole and say “hi world.”

It seems I am actually on trend with ‘digital detox’ although I had never heard about this concept until a couple of days ago. I couldn’t endorse it more. For me, it is necessary to slow down, reflect and garner inspiration for the year ahead. And that’s not to say it’s easy – I can completely understand the seduction of social media, our reliance on 24/7 news, and the need to constantly check emails and text messages, but it is so refreshing to remember, and prove, we can live without them!

This quiet time has inspired me to do all those things you never quite get around to. Once one slows down, it is so much easier to find moments of pretty, along with newfound delights in the simplest of things .Which brings me to my February 2017 resolution, and that is to make a concerted effort in keeping calm, in finding time to think about things that bring joy, comfort, laughter and beauty, and some much needed quiet into my life, such as:

Reading books for entertainment and for learning

I decided to read Susan Cain’s Quiet : The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking this last month – for those of you unfamiliar with it, it focuses on a time when quiet and reflection was admired, comparing this with the 20th and 21st centuries, and the more recent rise in the extrovert as the ideal.

A new book that I have loved is Belgravia by Julian Fellowes (of Downton Abbey fame.) To me there is nothing better than a tome that you just cannot put down. Do the younger generations still experience such a wonderful addiction? I do hope so.

        

Focusing more on those you love (everyone says that but I am trying to be more mindful than I have been)

Spending more time with my Mom – talking and discussing things with her with her. At a friend’s long ago suggestion, I have just started interviewing her on video her face and her voice documented.

Being with my beloved puppies, who have featured significantly in this quiet January .

Trying to be more  observent and patient with special friends. Even when I don’t agree with them – everyone has a right to their opinion as long as they do not try and force it upon you.

     

Making files for items that make me laugh, inspire or think

A big fan of interesting quotes, I finally compiled some of my favorites, for easy access when I most need them. I always marvel at how writers with their beautiful prose or cleaver humor come up with these things. A couple of lines to capture the essence of something – quite foreign to someone like yours truly who should get the prize for rambling run on sentences.  I have dozens of them but here are just a few.

Inspiration:  “Let us be grateful to people who make us happy, they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom,”  Marcel Proust

Wit: “Don’t be so humble – you are not that great,” Golda Meir

“Going to church doesn’t make you a Christian any more than going to a garage makes you an automobile,” Billy Sunday

Humor: “If you’re too open minded, your brains will fall out,” Lawrence Ferlinghetti

“You know the world is going crazy when the best rapper in the world is a white guy, the best golfer is a black guy, the tallest guy in the NBA is Chinese, the Swiss hold the America’s Cup, France is accusing the U.S. of arrogance, Germany doesn’t want to go to war and the three most power men in America are named “Bush”, “Dick”, and “Colin,” Need I say more?”  Chris Rock

A modest start at getting organized

When I did allow myself online, it was to clear out my emails, and unsubscribe from as much as I possibly could. All those newsletters – that of course would be interesting should I have the time to read them, but instead hover in my Inbox, making me feel inefficient and overwhelmed and laden with just more stuff. I still love the Happiness Project from Gretchen Rubin…

Paying attention to places that provide a peaceful atmosphere

Usually my time in Manhattan is a hectic jumble of appointments but recently I’ve been trying to not to over book things (something that I am so guilty of throughout my life.) By accident I was early for an appointment – a rare thing indeed – and in this spare moment, discovered a lovely little shop that only sells coffee and petit fours.  It is like stepping back in time, when true, quality ingredients mattered, and providores took pride in the smallest of details. The young owners, also the pastry chef and barista, are both immigrants, fulfilling the American dream, and bringing a touch of magic to the East Side. Bon Vivant feels like a safe, slow, haven, while the world still races by outside.

 

Bon Vivant, 238 E 58th St, New York – just near the D&D Building, so perfect for design types in the area needing a break.

Stop talking about doing something, and to quote Nancy Regan, “Just Do It!”

One of the worst forms of noise is head noise, I am an expert at that unfortunate trait. The constant yakking in the, head “you should do this, you must do that,” those endless voices driving you nuts.. and the image of that wagging finger in your face . So as my mother says “If you really WANT to do it, you will or… let it go.”

For months I have been saying I needed to start my next book which will finally be about my designing career (something i really have not written about) and finally I started this work on the weekend, and strangely the voices stopped yelling at me!

Above: Just the beginning stage of the book process, starting to play with covers. It probably will  not be this, but one starts with an idea, and then the endless project of research and editing begins….

Well dear readers enough of my meandering thoughts. There is just one more thing I would like to say ( I know you are probably rolling your eyes and saying “finally”) – the reason for this very long and personal post is both an explanation and a BIG THANK YOU to the lovely people who sent messages showing concern about my disappearance from social media, and asking if I was okay. Thank you from my heart!–cr

PS Next posts : Valentine’s Day and my dinner with Julian Fellowes.

 

132 thoughts on “The Quest for Quiet

  1. Thank you so much for your thoughts – pensamientos! Great that you have started a new book – that is always welcoming. Love the photos of your mother and the dogs as usual.

    I did read Belgravia years ago and enjoyed it – do let us know about your dinner with talented Julian Fellowes!

    • Thank you Lili. Plan to do a whole post on the Julian Fellowes dinner soon – stay tuned! cr

  2. Dearest Carolyne,

    I have been enamoured by your talent and beauty of all things for many years now. After all these years your books remain among my favourites. They are the ones I return to over and over again for inspiration and pure escapism. As an interior designer myself my library is extensive and never ending, nevertheless, yours remain among a handful of favourites. I look forward with great anticipation to one day soon hopefully, own your newest tome.

    Your blogpost on digital detoxing is definitely one I have become very aware of as I get older. As designers I think we are hardwired to possess heightened senses. That’s what contributes to us being good at what we do. However, the downside is becoming over stimulated and emotionally sensitive. I need, and must have, times that I shut everything down. It is the only way to process what is in my head, but more importantly, what my heart and soul is telling me. Only when we sit in quiet reflection can this happen. Regrettably, few of us take the time to do it, and I know I will likely never fully master it, but at least being aware is a good beginning. I am also trying to let go of destructive self flagellation as it is a never ending loop leading nowhere.

    I wish you peace, calm, joy, laughter, love, boundless creativity and reflective quiet time. Looking forward to you new blog posts and another valuable treasure for my ever expanding library.

    Warmest regards – Trudy

    • Thank you Trudy – what wise words. I too am trying to listen more closely to what my heart and soul is telling me, and also know all too well the self flagellation loop! cr

  3. Dear Carolyne,

    Your post is so personal and deeply touching.
    An elegant reminder to turn off the noise, mend relationships, and practice forbearance.

    I like your idea of keeping books around that have wonderful quotes. Some years ago, I purchased a red-leather bound journal to note my favorites, so that, when my soul needed a lift, I could thumb through the pages for some inspiration.
    Here’s one of my favorites for you and each of us who create arts and crafts.
    “Artists to my mind
    are the real architects of change,
    and not the political legislators
    who implement change
    after the fact.”
    — Wiliam S Boroughs

    I’m so happy your next book is going to be about design. All your books and blogs and images add so much beauty to the world. And THAT is something that matters and will outlast the cackling choruses dominating our media and, at times, our heads.

    Terry

    • Thank you Terry for that fabulous quote –I have read it before but it is going in my file this time! Ans…thank you for your thoughtful words! ce

  4. OMG, I couldn’t agree with you more. Your message in your most recent post is what I have been thinking but afraid to act on. I keep thinking working (which I have done all my life) is what I need to keep doing even though I find it is less rewarding. As an interior designer you love the creativity and beauty of designs for your clients’ homes. The
    problem these days, for me, I find I have nothing left for myself. After reading this post you have convinced me to do the same. I need the quiet. I need to be able to really enjoy the days and nights with my dear husband, daughter and wonderful friends. It’s my time now! Thank you so much, Carolyn for always being so on point.

  5. A refreshing read. I too, have begun withdrawing from the incessant noise of everyday life. I’ve stopped my cable tv service as there is very little on tv that I care to watch. So much violence and vulgarity in the name of “entertainment” and I really could care less of what extremely overpaid actors/actresses have to say anyway. I can choose what I want to view by a variety of other means. I read A LOT! Always have, it’s so soothing to be drawn into someone else’s imagination. Also, I’ve learned at this later stage in my life to say NO. Another dinner, another lunch…sometimes it’s just more food than I don’t need instead of great conversation. I’m sitting here quietly with the fire on and dusk approaching and watching the trees blowing as the wind is rather brisk now.
    A very inspiring post.

    • Couldn’t agree with you more Donna, and perhaps you can give me some further lessons in saying no! The fire at dusk while watching the trees sounds heavenly, cr

  6. Full circle with the new book. You should feel incredibly proud. And even if you seek silence and rest, your inspiration is out there. – Virginia Billeaud Anderson

  7. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and I am so looking forward to your next post.So glad that you are well.
    I LOVED Belgravia.
    Wishing you and your mother.a very Happy New Year.
    Wendy.

  8. How lovely to have such soothing thoughts from you! They are so well chosen, just like the flowers in your gardens!

  9. You are such a blessing! Thank you for sharing your heart and making me laugh. Happy New Year!

  10. Blessed you are to have your mother to visit and hug … be appreciative. She certainly gave you a great base for your creative joy!! Gratitude to your mom for giving the world a beautiful spirit!!

  11. I am going take a cue from you and “detox” from all social media and unsubscribe from most emails….not yours though! Time to reflect and reduce the ” noise ” from everyday life….you have given me the inspiration to do so….

  12. Great article, Carolyne!

    Amazing tips.

    Sometimes it is better to take a deep breath and relax. Everything will work by itself if we take it one step at a time!

    Best wishes!

    Macedo – SP – BRAZIL

  13. Great thoughts, I think we all share the musings on media! Your mom looks amazing, after all last time I her was probably around ’73! Take care and give her our best.

    Holly Nuhn Hawkins
    NC

    • Dear Holly,
      How wonderful to hear from you!! It has been so many many years. I would love to talk to you!!! I shall tell her you asked about her. Here is an email where you can reach my assistant to track me down as I move around a lot. BTW I bought a house in charleston and I see you are still in N.C.? There are so many questions I have so please send your contact info to rosa@weatherstone.cc The cc is not a typo but an old address so don’t use com thinking it is a mistake. I await to get your email. a big hug to you Holly

  14. Would love to hear about your
    Dinner with Mr. Fellowes. His wife works for the Queen (or at least used to), and one of my dear friends is Patrick Jephson, who was for many years, Princess Diana’s Chief of Staff (equerry).

  15. Hi Carolyne!

    Welcome back! I certainly understand the quest for peace. I think we all need to follow your lead and turn off the noise. Peace and quiet can be so restorative!

    I am happy hear about your new book project. It sounds amazing and interesting. I cannot wait!

    I love that you are interviewing your mom on video. It will be a lasting time capsule to her thoughts and views on life. A few years ago I was told to record my parents voice for when they are no longer here. I love the idea of interviewing and recording on video.

    I am so happy you are well and did this post. Rosa was so kind and gracious when I reached out to her. You have a great team of support around you. You are very lucky!

    I look forward to your future posts and am dying to hear about your dinner with Julian Fellowes!!!

    Take care!

    Tim Nelson

    • Dear Tim,
      Thank you so much for your concern it meant so much to me!!! Yes indeed I have some lovely people who take care of me and Rosa is the number 1 boss!. I hope to do another video of mom this weekend. so much to talk about.
      A huge hug to you and more later xo cr

  16. Love your genuine and open e mails, Carolyn! Thank you for making including us into your life. You are lovely!

    • And thank you, Laurie, for including me in yours…..without readers, there would be no reason for a blog, and it brings me so much joy to share things with you, cr

    • Good point, Ellen – perhaps we should look at everyone, everywhere taking January off? I’m sure it would do a world of good! cr

  17. Glad you took the time to detox from all the noise of the day. But happier to have you back on line.
    Love Susan Cain’s and Julian Fellowes’ writings. Ms. Cain’s book was very affirming to those of us who are introverts. Please do write about your dinner with Lord Fellowes.

  18. Hi ,so lovely to hear from you…I am delighted all is well…
    I know Julian well as he lives very close to me here in Dorset and we have done some great work in his house…
    We also opened the new Thomas Hope gardens together at the end of last year. He is ever so charming and his wife is incredibly fabulous….
    Much love to you all

    Jonathan Sainsbury

    • And lovely to hear from you Jonathan! Yes we spoke of you when I was explaining who did the surround of the fireplace and they told me that they lived near by. Sorry I have been so out of touch I will go on your site and see what wonderful things you are creating! hug cr

  19. I’m glad you’re back and am looking forward to your new book. I like the idea of taking a break as I get so tired of all the negativity. I just retired and share some of the same passions as you (flowers, art, reading, beautiful surroundings) and am inspired by your posts and books. Thank you.

  20. Welcome back. Hope you derive energy and happiness from the fact that you were missed!

  21. Thank you for this post. You were speaking my heart. Life demands our participation most days, and giving ourselves permission to disconnect is heavenly. More time in the garden, a laugh with a child or best friend, quiet time with a book, even house chores while listening to great music will do quite nicely. Keep calm and carry on…quietly. 😌

  22. Your post was inspiring. I’m so happy to hear your next book will be about your designing talent. I was so crestfallen when you stopped your beautiful clothing design. I still have some of the lovely ❤ pieces. They were so refined
    And we’ll made of beautiful material !
    You were in a class by yourself as a designer, Carolyne. I’m excited waiting for your new book.

    • Dear Sandra that means so much to me! I was heart broken when I shut the business. A mistake but it is spilt milk ….But all design is life’s breath for me, so thank goodness I found another source of creative output. Thank you, cr

  23. Here, here Caroline. You are spot on. I got a good laugh reading the quotes. I tuned out last fall. All the screaming voices became obnoxious. Took awhile, but so glad I did.
    Spent Christmas holiday luxuriating with all your books. My constant go to is Blue and White. I thank you for an excellent post and as always look forward to your next musings.
    Say hello to Julian.

  24. Spot on! Love your post. So true about our society’s need to be right and prove others wrong. Longing for the civility of our parents’ generation. Hopefully the pendulum will self-correct. We will have to be patient and set our own bar and maybe others will follow suit.

  25. A most welcome post, Carolyne. If only the whole world would breathe a collective cleansing breath and reboot; starting over with purpose, compassion, and peace.

  26. We find our quiet world either through choice or have it forced upon us. I broke my heel on Christmas Day and was left with nothing but quiet and solitude once my husband left to go to work every day. I could watch only so much TV. I don’t “tweet”, “Instagram” or “Facebook”! I’ve discovered the joy of phone calls with family and friends, reading historical bios and my embroidery skills are improving. I think we all could take a vacation from the world outside. My husband says I have a very comfy bubble!

  27. My Dear Carolyne,

    You and I could be one,,,,I know myself so well that sometimes it scares me. I can tell at an exact moment when I need to take a step back and decompress. There are days when I can’t wait to get home and open the door and hear the roar of QUIET. I take the phone off the hook, turn off the cell, pour myself a glass of prosecco put on some music and curl up with one of your books or something historical. My pup in right by me on the sofa and all is well again. I salute you for making and taking the time for yourself. You are no good to anyone especially yourself if you are not whole and in a good place mentally and spiritually. I came to realize this many years ago after going thru my divorce. So I’ll end this with raising a glass to you. Bless You!

    • And to You Elaine…I am a slow learner I did not learn that from divorce but trying to finally learn it now.. To closing that door and the image of you the pup and the prosecco is wonderful! cr

  28. This morning as I was preparing my cup of tea, put the bird seed out, waved to our visiting fox who waits for my dogs to come out to stare at each other…I opened my mail and there you were! Right at the top and such a welcome sight!!
    A refreshing, beautiful, serene message and also one that made me laugh out loud! All so welcome and needed.
    That you had read “Quiet” said it all. I read that book last year when I thought I was losing my mind and felt so much better after – it’s always so nice to know you aren’t the only one….
    It is a relief to know that you are back as you have been missed! A new book? Perfect! Open eyes seeing all the amazing beauty around us – Oh, doesn’t it remind you how alive you are!
    How lovely you have started this day. The world is hungry for such lovely thoughts of yours. Thank you for sharing with all of us! Happy New Year, Carolyne! I eagerly look forward to your news! warm thoughts, Marilyn

    • Marilyn, your message exudes such wonderful, positive energy. Thank you for these kind words, and I love the sound of your idyllic morning routine! cr

  29. A friend suggested video interviewing my parents….you have cemented the idea and
    Inspired me to “just do it,” along with the adage “smell the roses!”
    Note: I love the many recipes featured in your books, At Home with Carolyne Roehm and
    A Passion for Parties! Please, share more in future books and/or this lovely site you so
    Graciously share your wise thoughts and beautiful photos.
    In New York this weekend to see Hamilton. Looking forward to trying Bon Vivant!!!!
    You truly are an icon in style and, most of all, substance! Thank you!

    • Thank you Terri, and very happy to have helped with further inspiring the videoing. Enjoy Hamilton, and do try Bon Vivant if you can! cr

  30. Yes, sometimes you have to stop and smell the roses. Always look forward to your posts. You bring such beauty into our lives, and for that, thank you.

    • Thank you Eve, as you’ve probably read before, I see it as my mission to bring beauty into lives, so it makes my day to hear I’m achieving this! cr

  31. Missed your blog, so happy you are back. I too deleted, from the net a huge amount of what I thought was interesting at one time. Silly me. Being of advanced age, I really don’t have the time to waste. Loved Juliian Fellows Belgravia, could not put it down. Now I actually find the time to exercise more, drop a note to far-away friends, finish some craft projects and baby some new indoor plants which I just purchased. Being in snowy Canada why wait for my spring garden, it’s still a ways off! Your “rosie” picture above is wonderful. Thank you.

  32. We should all be like sculptors with our time being the precious substance that we carve out to suit ourselves, like Michelangelo, looking at that perfect chunk of Carrara marble and seeing “David” within it. Sounds as if your 2017 is off to a great start, Carolyne!

    • Andrea I love your reference to Michelangelo and the imagery– one of my all time great heroes I adore his work cr

  33. I enjoyed your blog, we all need to take time to smell the roses, drink cappuccino and eat petit fours. Cannot wait to see the new book, I am sure it will be stunning!!

  34. I am so glad you shared this post about taking a break. It is good to take a break from the pressures of the world to regroup and re-energize your soul. I have been doing that myself. So thank you for reaffirming that is ok to take a break, regroup, and revive your creativity. I t have taken this time to pray more, forgive and love more, and ask for new ideas for the new year. It’s a great new year!

    Looking forward to your new book about fashion designing! xo

  35. Thank you for your beautiful and inspiring and very real posts, time away even at home can be so
    restorative; isn’t it always wonderful to know that we are not alone in our craving for solitude and
    the things in life that bring us back to ourselves.
    Thank you for including us in your journey.
    Diana

    • Yes, reading all of the comments from the posts tells us we are not alone and there is a comfort in knowing that. cr

  36. It’s always such a delight to read from you. And Quiet….aaaah….I needed the reminder. Loud noise may be “in vogue” but like with any other trend, it doesn’t suit everyone! Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and reflections with us.

  37. CR, I love your approach with “Hi, I am back….” Being at a point in mid life, I have been rethinking goals, family, friends, and what is the most meaningful to me and my style of living. Several of my friends/family 16+ (including my great white Standard Poodle) have died in the last year. So it has made me try to reinvent my groove…starting with the quiet, art, music, gardening, cleaning out and meditating….the journey continues into 2017. Thanks for recommending Susan Cain’s book “Quiet”. I look forward to reading more about your quiet adventures when you return to your blog. MAPP

    • Dear Meredith I am so sorry for your horrible year! You know of course that my dogs are my children ( i have no two legged ones) and when you mention your beautiful poodle I so relate. The joy they bring! but boy the headache when they leave …the pain is unbearable —my thoughts are with you at for all your loss in 2016 a hug cr.

  38. I think many of us have chosen to withdraw from some social media. I’m not on Facebook ( I know! Oh, horror!) nor Instagram, Twitter, snapchat, etc. I still check my email account and stay on top of friends and smile through that one media. As for the news – none of it is good so I try not to listen but my hubby has it on making it difficult to turn off. At times,
    I find myself ranting.that’s bad for my soul.
    I am happy to see you back though. You bring beauty into our lives.

  39. CR-I enjoyed your comment on Bon Vivant-I was aware of this charming shop via Instagram. On a recent
    trip to Manhattan I dashed over to indulge. Brought back a box of petit cakes for my book club. What a treat.
    Thank you for sharing your stunning visual senses.
    My Best, Robin Brown
    @wrenrobin

  40. Thank you so much for your dear thoughts. And I concur with you on all of it. I had to step back myself to grant others their public and pushy rants. It wasn’t easy.

    Relax and enjoy your mother, your dogs, your environment…..life is too short.

    All the best on the next book.

  41. Great article and so glad you took the time off to regroup your thoughts. Sometimes that’s the best gift we can give ourselves. I too have taken a tv diet and utilizing my time to catch up on reading and spending time with my family. Thanks for book recommendation – can’t wait to get started.

  42. Your mum looks even prouder than you. With good reason. Beyond adorable.

    And as to what you have written today, Fitzgerald said it I feel the absolute best; ‘we are not given to know those moments when people are wide open and the lightest touch can wither or heal’.
    you healed.
    thank you.

    short story A Diamond as Big as the Ritz (probably/maybe….)

    • You are so dear about my mom! She is a super lady who is having some memory problems—on the little stuff but on the big issues she is thinking just fine! Thank you for your” healing” comment Just one question I am not sure about the line about the A Big Diamond….. –is it a F.S.F. short story? best Cr

      • Yes, it is to my recollection, one of his short stories, however now that I am reading it in print on your blog I’m on my way to fact check…(Please forgive. My memory at times can get knocked over where emotion is concerned.)
        Best.
        M

        • Apologies. Wrong attribution. Guess I just liked the sound of that title!
          Have searched at length for the origin of the quote; tentatively would say that is is most likely from “The Freshest Boy”. I say ‘tentatively’ because have yet to find a proper academic source although found numerous random ones in the online wilderness.
          But the silver lining is that in researching “A Diamond as Big as the Ritz” discovered it is a fantasy and an oddly intriguing one. Similarly the two stories involve New England prep school pals, burgeoning adolescence, impactful imagery as in Gatsby (the settings of which are by some theorized to have been based on Wetport, CT and not Long Island at all), morality, etc.
          But more importantly, thank you kindly for your kindness and equanimity, Carolyne, with all of us as fans, and in that vein how you steadfastly highlight the positive whilst never calling out the imperfections. Fitzgerald had Sara Murphy. We have you.
          Best.

          • Dear M,
            Not to worry—-I cannot remember anything !!!!!!!… Thank you for your kind words. cr

  43. This post resonates deeply with me and obviously many other readers. Zing…you plucked a heart string for our search for quiet in these tumultuous times without feeling guilty. I am inspired by your words and motivated to be more mindful in my thoughts and actions. My goal is to take more time to be outside and enjoy nature with my 2 doggies. They always make me smile. Thanks for the address of Bon Vivant. Thrilled to have you back online and happy to know that you are well and invested in some wonderful and creative projects. Sending you love and light. X

    • Thank you very much Marie. Enjoy nature and the doggies – life doesn’t get much better! cr

  44. All I can say is, Wow!
    Now this IS something to read and read again. Among flooded inboxes, noise and distraction this is worth every letter and punctuation mark.
    As always, Bravo!
    Best to you in this New Year,
    Tracy
    Ps. Wonderful book concept …looking forward

  45. Thank you for your post… you have helped to give me the courage to shut off the media storm … I have deleted everything political off of Facebook and tried to spend less time on it, but it still seems to creep in. Since this is interfering with my productivity and my creativity is an artist , I need to go further and do what you did. I am jumping out of the world for awhile, no Facebook and only critical email for 10 minutes a day and then no more. The only addiction I find hard to let go of his Pinterest which has been a huge source of inspiration for me: but it’s also a black hole that I disappear into for way too many hours so I need to dump that too . Thank you for your wise counsel .

    • Good luck with shutting it off, Deborah. Thankfully I haven’t yet gone down the Pinterest black hole! cr

  46. So nice to hear from you! I really try to surround myself with beauty and your posts, books and photographs are a big part of that. I”m excited to hear you are beginning a new book! I can’t wait!

  47. This is a weary time it seems. Breathing, works of art, books, music, fashion, architecture, decorative objects nurture the soul. Now that I’ve retired from teaching art I too am regrouping. I treat myself to at least one each day. I cherish the time I finally have to do what I enjoy and what I need. Thanks for the wonderful thoughts and beautiful works!

  48. Thank you, Carolyne, for the update. I so enjoy your site. We are such kindred spirits. Reading your beautiful books, and I have them all, IS my quiet retreat. This year, as I begin redecorating “Swan Song,” my MN summer home, and continuing to improve “Oasis”, my AZ winter home, I love seeing your ideas. Adding a little Zen and mindfulness seems to be in the mix for both of us. I am also enjoying your new spot in Victoria magazine. May your year be blessed with quiet direction. Please also check out my Pinterest pages at Hearts Desire Farms. Perhaps we will meet – I would like that.

    • Thank you for the kind words Alison. Fortunately, or unfortunately, I don’t use Pinterest – I fear it would just be another rabbit hole for me! cr

  49. I will never delete your blog or Alexandra Stoddard’s (do you know her?). Both of you are in love with life and find beauty in pretty things, whether it be ribbons or blossoms or food presentations. Stimulating conversations, but within the art of human kindness, appeals to me and you embody that. I am appalled at the political rantings and ravings on Facebook–they are as prevalent as before the elections. Can’t we just move on to making the world a better place in our own small way? Merci for your inspiration and zest for living the good life.

    • Here Here!! Judy. I have not heard of Alexandra for a long time and I have often wondered abut her and also about Barbara Orbach ( who wrote The Scented Room ) they were contemporaries and both talked about living with style. Alexandra was so inspiring in talking about taking the time to enjoy beauty and find it in simple things. I was/am a fan. Yes let’s get on with it and give things a chance to work otherwise we move on to something better and we are all responsible for that. I shall look up Alexandra’s blog BTW cr

  50. I book series that I find enjoyable is the 3 pines series by louise penny. it’s a mystery set in Canada but I find it kind of soothing, mainly because I think I want to live there

  51. What a wonderful post. I am having the same feelings of too much opinion, both of mine and other people.
    I have started to unsubscribe and also unfriend Facebook ‘friends’ who I really don’t know. In it’s place I have begun to read a bit more and came across a fascinating book , The Coat Route by Meg Lukens Noonan that follows the various crafts people whose luxury, handcrafted products create one of the most expensive coats. It is so eye-opening to learn about trades like the buffalo horn buttons hand crafted in a small factory in Britain in the old way with attention to detail and quality instead of mass produced cheap and nasty from China. I think this year will be a focus more on quality and craftsmanship for me.
    Have a wonderful Valentine’s Day with Mr Fellows, what a fabulous dinner guest he will be. Looking forward to hearing about it.

    • Hi Melissa—You are so correct about the beauty of craftsmanship and quality. I hope you are right about more of an interest particularly in the young. That movement is out there let’s try and fan the fires of interest in it…You have just inspired me in another blog post. Thank you cr

  52. Yes, dear Carolyne, I am one who tried not to be concerned for your well-being in your choice to withdraw into your own quiet. I was very relieved to see a new post!
    But I certainly understand and encourage your honoring your Soul’s voice. Aging has deeper, richer benefits to offer.
    Thank you for the Beauty if you…

  53. You really “hit the nail on the head” with this one. Everything I have been feeling and thinking and more. I am now looking for a home – small – in southwestern Colorado. It may be too high, but I have to start somewhere. Have to get away from this clamor and rush. Your hat is wonderful and the bouquet is grand. LOVE LOVE LOVE it.

  54. Thank you Carolyne, for your always thoughtful posts……like a breath of real air in a mad world! I have always felt January is for hibernating!

    So looking forward to your new book!

    Linda Fitzgerald

  55. SO sorry to have to do this….because I do like you an awful lot…………….however….
    If you are truly slowing down, then please “proof read” your letter before you hit send……there were 7 grammatical errors, two run on sentences, and one ” number ” faux pas and two (sic). (Not to mention, two run on sentences.)
    I’m not an English fanatic or anything….I just think that someone of your stature should not be writing like this.
    It kind of takes the “magic” out of you writing to us….at least for me it does…

    On the upside, you’re still beautiful and someone I aspire to be!

    Happy New Year to you as well…….

    Solitude Breeds Wisdom
    – Thoreau

    • Wow Teresa that is a lot to take in. ( I know a preposition at the end of a sentence is a booboo- –is it still?) Believe it or not I do reread several times what I write and I have someone check the post as well. I know I am certainly a champion run on sentence writer -I speak that way as well. What is worse I usually change the subject mid sentence at least two or three times when I speak. My curiosity is such that I would like to know all of my mistakes. One always hopes to learn. Sorry about the loss of the magic.
      Thanks for the quote cr

      • My, my, Teresa, if you are such a grammarian, why is it that you feel the need to so liberally, and unnecessarily, use quotation marks around perfectly common words and phrases, not to mention your excessive use of ……. and
        ( )? Is the pot calling the kettle black? I believe CR’s words are worth far more in heartfelt meaning as they are written than they could be if picked to death out of the fear of disturbing your magic. But I’m sure you meant your criticism only as constructive.

        We love you, Carolyne, just the way you are, run-on sentences and all.

        • Thank you Martha —i have always longed to be accepted with warts and all…. why do we humans make such demands upon others and ourselves… Thank you for accepting me with my warts! cr

          • Martha, I’m sure Teresa only meant to bring to Carolyn’s attention that correct grammar and punctuation is there to provide structure to a sentence. To actually make it more readable. When all the words run together with no punctuation, there is no easy way to discern where to put the emphasis on the words or emotions expressed in the sentence. I often have to reread a sentence over several times these days to figure out the meaning the author of the piece is trying to convey. By not structuring the sentence with proper punctuation, it just makes it difficult to understand. I’m sure she meant no true harm, just a gentle reminder to a woman that writes a great deal in her line of work.

          • Hi Donna and Martha,
            Both sides of this issue are correct. My partner is of the correct punctuation –grammar and the run on sentences drive him nuts–we have have discussed that issue many times. Finally I had to say” stop if you want to take the time you help and correct it for me go for it. I barely get the things written in the first place! I never learned to type was not a good speller. I remembered an english lit. teacher that bludgeoned a paper of mine and gave me a D-. I learned a lot from that teacher. ( an no, this did not scar me for life–and that is why I write the way I do) As I do not in any way consider myself a writer but a designer I make no pretensions in that area. Yet I do not have a full time staff to check things for me. I pretty much everything by myself.I could go on but the other side of the issue is most of try to offer what we think might be of some interest to the reader/viewer. In my case it will not be a correctly and well written piece but something, I hope, will be of visual interest to the eye of the reader. I promise this is not meant in a defensive way —it is life and as the old saying goes…that is what makes horse races. cr( sorry I did not proof read)

          • I am a professional writer, and I can tell you that unless I’m writing an article or a book, I do not have an editor. And I am an editors nightmare! Before my books go to publication, my editor redlines everything- it can go on for pages and pages. I cry myself to sleep during editing phase and even when it’s published I still have critics that love to tell me how awful I am. My point in all of this? If you read Carolyne’s books, you’ll notice they’re edited perfectly! This is her blog-a place for her to communicate with us. One on one. And we are so fortunate that she takes the time to ‘talk’ back with us. You don’t get that from other celebrity bloggers. And we soon won’t get it from Carolyne if you choose to pick her apart. Please see this place for what is is- a respite from a lousy, noisy, sometimes ugly world.

          • Dear dear Kathie,
            Thank you so much. It is hard to put oneself out there. We want to create but have to take the corrections and critics with it. That’s what people have always said. But gosh it can hurt. I am getting a bit better as I grow older and older…but it is still one’s creation and it can hurt. In the case of my blog, I am better about peoples remarks… I do not think it was meant in any way but as advice and these things make one more aware. If really mean comments started coming to me I would shut it down and say, “I am out of here.” Fortunately that has not been my experience. I responded to one lady, that we all have different priorities and different – view points all are valid as long as they do no harm. A very big hug to you K, xox carolyne

  56. Happy New Year to you!
    At the risk of burdening you with one more “to do”, may I request the company and name of the fabric which you used in your home in Charleston — a chintz on the sofa that has a white background with blue, greens and I believe some red or coral, the green and white stripe on two chairs in the same room, and then in a second room, the green damask on chairs in your green room. I can’t figure out how to attach a photo, but I have a lovely one of you sitting with one of your puppies.
    Delighted to know you are starting on a new book!
    Thank you! SJ

    • HI SJ, Gosh you have me with the first description I may be loosing my mind along with my memory but I cannot figure out what you are referring to in Charleston. I know I have the green damask, it is linen BTW, but I cannot remember with the name nor the source. I am sure it is a file some place..The only thing I can promise you is when I start my Charleston book I shall put a source guide in the back. Sorry I would happily give it to you. I am sitting in icy CT right now and have no chance to check files in Charleston. cr

  57. Carolyne,

    Don’t worry, whether your posts are frequent or infrequent, they are always wonderful, inspiring and a breath of fresh air. When you do take a break I don’t mind because you always return with gifts: your beautiful pictures and insights into what we all are feeling are comforting and well worth the wait!

    Love,
    Kevin and (the spirit of my little Nickie)

    • Dear Kevin thank you for those wonderful words,it means a lot to me!!!!!

      A hug back
      —cr

  58. I completely agree with you. I call TV the Monster of One Eye, which also happens to be a phenomenal wasteland. Like you, I prefer to read a book – my personal library has 1700+ books. They are my refuge. Also, please let us know if Mr. Fellows plans to develop a series out of his book Belgravia – I read someplace he was thinking about it. My son gave me for Christmas the complete set of Downton Abbey, which I had not seen on TV, and was fabulous, although I must confess that I loved the customs more than the story line. Nevestheless, his social commentary was on point. If you have not seen the film, Gosford Park, whose script he wrote, I highly recommend it.

    • Hi Marni,
      Yes I have seen Gosford park and JF.tells a great story about how he got the job which really launched his career although he had acted, written and directed in England.
      As far as the upcoming he is working on a story about the Gilded Age in America–I assume NYC and places like Newport but it seems to be coming slowly.
      While I loved Downton A. The story of Belgravia is a much more interesting one— more evil characters –one needs the contrast for the tension and suspense! I think you will love it. If you do audible books which I live with the reader is fabulous! cr

  59. I’m looking forward to your next book with great anticipation. As with the others, I’m sure it will be beautiful, informative and a mainstay in my library.

    I wholeheartedly agree that a time away from electronics is essential to one’s well being. Bravo for doing it! After all if one doesn’t take care of oneself, we are no good to anyone else.

    I love your posts and find them inspirational and down to earth. Something pretty much lacking anymore. Ignore Teresa who obviously is perfect in an imperfect word. Stay true to self. And thank you for the joy and beauty to bring to us all.

    • Thank you for your lovely words—there are just many differing views (and capabilities ) most are both right and wrong just depends on one’s cont of view—there is place for both. cr

  60. Looking forward to your upcoming book! The cover is beautiful.
    Thank you for the tip on the nice place to have coffee in NY. When I come to NY I’m never quite sure where the special spots are since I haven’t lived there for twenty five years.
    Have a lovely, relaxing week. Lynn

      • Kathie Truitt I am truly sorry that anyone took offense at what I wrote. I sincerely didn’t mean it as such. I was only trying to put into words what I thought Martha had been a bit too harsh in saying. You’re right though Teresa, we shouldn’t expect anything better from celebrities and I don’t consider Carolyne to be one, and I’m sure she doesn’t either. We’re all women here trying to be helpful to each other, or so I thought. It seems as any type of “constructive” critisism these days is seen as being mean and/or “destructive” which was not my intention. Please know Carolyn if you read this, I did not have any intention of hurting you.

        • I did not think that all as I thought explained…we all always hope to do our best don’t worry we all now need to let it go…best carolyne

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