Last week when the temps decided to hover around zero, there was a meeting I knew I had to go to, but the idea of staying in my 60 degree house was all I wanted to do.
Yes, my house is old and when the temps get that low, the downstairs is almost unbearable.
So I bundled and then some, and headed over to Helene's.
We had to discuss the wedding photo shoot we are doing in spring, along with Sarah.
We really needed to get a theme or story board going so we could get the actual ideas and props needed.
Helene is from Sweden, and she's quick to tell you anything you need to know on the subject, and her accent is a strong mix of Swedish with a touch of Wisconsin added in. I adore it.
I have been to Helene's work shop (she is easily the best florist in this area, if not the state), and it's set in a little stone cottage with a gorgeous stone patio and arbor out front. It's always messy. Helene is that kind of artist (much like me) where everything just goes flying, lands wherever, and the work just shines.
I had never been inside Helene's house, but have always wanted to as it's so intriguing from the outside... again stone, a cottage and very old.
Curious too, because on Face book, I have seen a picture of a chicken walking through her kitchen.
Helene greeted me at the door, gracious as always... she's very warm and welcoming, always.
The first thing I noticed walking in the door was how warm her house was. Literally.
Greeted by a large and happy dog, I took off my coat and entered the kitchen.
It was a tad messy... what was I expecting?
It was slightly bigger than I expected, and her counter tops were loaded with all things having to do with eating and cooking, not leaving much space for anything else.
(I carry the burden of thinking everything needs to be pretty and decorative, all else hidden from view.)
She lead me around the corner to the dining table to sit, where we would hold our brain storming session. The table was literally the middle of the house. All rooms lead to the dining table.
She offered coffee and I accepted. While waiting, I scanned the rooms around me.
All kinds of interesting nooks and crannies, enviable built ins, to die for bead board and wood work.
All kinds of "works in progress", kids stuff, winter coats, a cat, paper and mail... all still a little messy.
Most of Helene's home looks like it's either inherited, or comes from resale and antique shops. Eye candy for me to scan and digest. I had to laugh when I pointed out the trivet on the table still had the 50 cent Goodwill sticker on it.
In the meantime, Sarah arrived and she agreed to the tea Helene offered.
(Sarah is the cake queen... another story soon)
I watched Helene. She made coffee on the stove. The pot could have been thirty or forty years old, the kind that holds the coffee filter on top and you pour boiling water over... red enamel, nothing fancy. The tea pot was similar.
There was something about watching Helene move around her kitchen. She was quick, fluid and didn't miss a beat while talking to Sarah and I. Everything in it's place? Seemed to be.
I don't trust just anyone with coffee.
Huh, tasty. Really, really good coffee. I admit, I was surprised.
In the meantime, her husband came in. He was waiting for some relatives to stop by from a funeral and have a quick chat with them before they were on their way back out of town.
She offered him coffee. Actually what she said was "sit with us, do you want some coffee?". Helene mentioned that she and Mike have coffee every day around three or four o'clock, no matter how busy they may be, even if in the throws of a very important client.
Mike sat down at the table with Sarah and I. Again, something... fluid, familiar in the way he did it.
Then without missing a beat during the chatter, Helene placed these on the table.
|Sarah of FlourGirl Pattisier.|
I'm going to tell you that my fork slid effortlessly through the top of this, through the whipped cream, happily landing in the perfectly chewy bottom filled with almond paste.
Another plate with her sweet rolls were on the table as well.
Easy, familiar chatter. Every day happenings.
The relatives arrive, Helene's youngest daughter in from the school bus. They all went into another room to catch up, while we bounced ideas off of each other in the warmest house I have been to in a long time.
Warmest by temperature, and warmest from witnessing the every day happenings in a house where there is clearly a loving routine, nurturing, lively chatter, sweet and loyal support... and an ease about it all, in a slightly messy house.
We came up with a shoot that has us all happily spinning, bringing up some forgotten Door County lore, hoping to translate our ideas into a new and fresh wedding shoot.
Helene sent us on our way with treats to take home for our families... of course she did.
A cozy little house.