Monday, May 30, 2011

National Heroes Day

  Today is National Heroes Day in the Turks and Caicos Islands.  On this day, every last Monday in May, the islands honor their national hero James Alexander George Smith McCartney.  To read a brief history of this revered man, and his tragic death, please see last year's post here.  The Turks and Caicos Islands may have but one national hero, but I can assure you there are many everyday heroes that walk amongst us.  First Caribbean Bank started their unsung heroes programme in 2003, honoring those"selfless heroes who generously give of their time and resources to improve the lives of the less fortunate in their communities."

   past winners of the Unsung Heroes programme are:

• Ms. Susan Blehr, TCSPCA (2005)

• Ms. Gloria Lucille Lightbourne, National Cancer Society (2006)

• Mrs. Gloria Cox, secondary education/Clement Howell High School (2007)

• Mr. Tanka Williams, Predators Youth Group (2008)

• Mrs. Marion Williams, SNAP, Handicapped and Elderly (2009) and

• Mr. Terry Drummey, Youth Centre & TCAAF (2010)

 Read more on these individuals here: Terry Drummey, Wesley Tanka Williams, Gloria Cox, Susan Blehr

Reading the local newspapers, you read about individuals making a difference in the community all the time.  Just last night I read a great article in the about Clifford Gardiner, the first Turks and Caicos Islander to fly an airplane in solo flight in 1970 who went on to have a 34 year career in aviation where he provided more than 300 medevac flights, many at night and in challenging conditions. 

Photo and article from tcfreepress

Surely each of us has an unsung hero to nominate in our community.  If you live in the Turks and Caicos and
would like to nominate an individual please take a moment and fill out the online nomination form.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Shop with Thought!

  One week from tomorrow on Saturday June 4th, the TCI Environmental Club will host a World Environment Day event as part of our Campaign to Ban Single Use Plastic Bags in the TCI.  We are looking for volunteers to help us distribute FREE reusable shopping bags to the community from 9am -12noon at the Graceway Gourmet, Graceway IGA, Building Materials, Island Pride, KB Home Center, Price Club, and Quality Supermarkets.  Please contact Stacie Steensland at, or call Lynn Robinson on 431-5966 to join the movement to keep the

Image from here

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Styling work featured on House of Turquoise

 Last night I took a browse on one of my favorite blogs, house of turquoise, and was pleasantly surprised to see some very familiar images on the site!  The author, Erin, has turned her obsession with turquoise into an online inspiration gallery for others who share a passion for the beautiful color in all it's many shades.  I think most residents and visitors to the Turks and Caicos Islands would relate to some form of appreciation of the hue as well.  I posted images from our photo shoot, a collaboration with tropical imaging, last fall here and here.  Here are some of my behind the scenes photos of the truly amazing, Amazing Grace.

 A before styling image

An after styling image, minus the chocolate brown ottoman which commanded too much attention and drew the eye in the wrong direction.

The arrangement created for the far wall featuring a large, woven texture framed mirror which helped contain the grandiose depth of the room.

The shutters of the reading nook open to the lovely staircase pictured below.

Mother of pearl embellished pillows helped add a glint of reflection and texture to the room.

Normally I take several photos of each angle of a room and then edit which one is the strongest.  As you can see, every angle of this spacious, airy bedroom is photogenic.

A pair of chairs adorn the elegant staircase from a birds eye view.

A vignette created for the master bath.  Erin, here's a miniature dose of your robins egg blue and ocean blue as well as your . . . .

Turks and Caicos turquoise!  Thanks for featuring us! 

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Wed Day-Somerset wedding

On Sunday May 22nd, tropicaldmc started early in the afternoon for this wedding on Grace Bay Beach.  Often we rarely see the bride or groom up until just before the ceremony.  As soon as we arrived, the bikini clad bride came up and said hello, full of sand and seawater!  She was having a blast with friends and family, taking full advantage of this precious quality time with loved ones.  When you hire a planner like Teresa Brunner, why not get out there and frolick and play on your wedding day!

This Montreal couple was all about vibrant and fun and it showed in their plush decor.  Bouganvillea, hydrangea, roses, and lilies adorned the ceremony site.

Fuscia chair tie backs coordinated perfectly with the florals.

The wedding party takes a moment just before the ceremony at The Somerset, a stately yet chic resort and destination wedding location.

The couple hosted their reception on the penthouse balcony, catered by Kissing Fish.

Here comes the bride!  Congratulations to these two life loving French Canadians!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

May projects

Last Saturday at the graceway gourmet local market, Charish, one of the directors of the visited me at my table and later sent me the sweetest message that she felt inspired to complete some of her own art projects that had been sitting idle thanks to our conversation.  I thought to myself, looking around my studio with a half dozen incomplete projects here and there, I better start inspiring MYSELF to complete some things that had been gathering quite some dust!   I had found this amazing side table at the Salvation Army for an incredibly affordable price a few months ago.  The delicate shape and ornate woodworking details had me at hello!  With a couple of minor repairs this bargain went from neglected and discarded to . . .

Voila!  A show piece worthy of a Parisian antique store, ouis, no?!

While selecting glass bottles in my studio, I found one specimen had been made a home by a cute little critter. 

I don't mind sharing my studio with these guys, it actually satisfies me that I have my own little eco-system in there.  I just couldn't help thinking this frog would probably be happier back in nature.

I wondered how the heck it had managed to squeeze itself through the top opening in the first place.

I thought I better try to assist it's exit but after many attempts, it was quite clear it wasn't going anywhere.  It's happy in it's little greenhouse so there it will stay until it makes it's way out.  If it got in it can get out, right?

This second project, which was inspired by this, was pretty easy to make.  I had found this branch on a nature walk several weeks ago and knew in an instant I had finally found a piece that would work for this idea that had been floating in my head for ages.  I already had a stock pile of reclaimed wood, pieces from what was most likely a Haitian sloop wreckage that had been thrown in a dumpster.

With very little modification, a couple of cuts on the chopsaw, some wood glue, and a few shavings with the grinder, and it was ready to hang.

I love breathing new life into discards!  Reduce, reuse, recycle!  If you have projects hovering, taking up space in your garage, attic, or yard and don't know exactly what to do with them, or know exactly what you want done with them but can't find the time, send them tcmillwork's way! 

Two projects down, one (tree truck table base pictured above), two (table top made from more of the Haitian sloop boat discards), three (handpainted rug), and four (pair of shabby chic headboards with antiqued mirror insets also pictured above in the background), to go!  Stay tuned for those before and after posts to come.

All images by Stacie

Friday, May 20, 2011

Stephanie and Andy

TC Millwork Design's inspiration board

Gold urchin placecard from etsy, bouquet from Ben Godkin, tablescape from 100layercake, Grecian wedding gown by Carmen Marc Valvo, tablescape from brides inspiration gallery, Grecian hair inspiration, star of bethlehem boutonniere, invitations from anemone letterpress, anemone arrangement by saipua, Grecian cake from martha stewart weddings, black bridesmail dress by jlmcouture, anemone boutonniere via the knot, jewelry purchased by the bride for the bridesmaids, Mr and Mrs chair back signs from etsy

Way back in July of 2010 I received an e-mail from a bride to be who fell in love with Fleur de Lys Villa from photos and wanted to see the villa in person.  I met with Andy and Stephanie a short month later for the villa viewing.  After taking a quick peek at the beautiful beach access around the corner, they were both thrilled with the venue and we agreed to stay in touch.  After a few weeks, and a rowdy hurricane, our story took a dramatic twist.  After hearing first hand all the trials and tribulations this couple had endured, (their December 2009 wedding had been postponed due to Stephanie's diagnosis with thyroid cancer), I was absolutely gutted to tell the lovebirds we had received an offer we could not refuse; a year long lease by a savvy, successful tenant we clicked with on our first introduction.  Originally Andy and Stephanie had planned to host their wedding at Footprints on the Beach, with the clean, contemporary style of the villa highlighted by the vivid turquoise sea as their background.  Their reception was to be held in the lush Caribbean courtyard of Fleur de Lys. The change of plans meant both functions would be held at Footprints, a chic location that would work famously regardless.

With that in mind, I started on the tablescape design. I knew I wanted to re-create the lush, romantic garden ambiance of Fleur de Lys so this deserving couple could have both styles as the originally intended.  I wanted them to be able to have their cake and eat it too!    Indeed it was a very full table of florals, dark stained driftwood, lanterns, apothecary jars, and a collection of glass bottles found on several beach combing expeditions.

Placecards were hand scripted and the gold sea urchin holders were made by an etsy vendor.  The apothecary jars were filled with succulents from the Fleur de Lys courtyard, white lisanthus, grand bulbous buds of chincherinchee, and the show stealer; white anemones with black centers to coordinate with the black gowns that were originally intended for the December 2009 wedding. 

Stephanie also found these stylish Mr. and Mrs. chair signs through etsy.

The reception was catered by the always incredible kissing fish, who I must thank for letting me have my way with the bar front and who also managed quite nicely with the limited table space I left for their plates of delicious food!

A white capeze shell chandelier was hung over the bride and groom's table for two.

This little table was placed perfectly to soak in the entire scene; pool, band, dance floor, and the ocean.

A rainstorm threatened our lovely laid out plans at 3:30pm.  At precisely 4pm we made the now or never decision to hope for the best, stay calm and carry on!  Wise decision as not a drop fell for the rest of the momentous evening. 

Driftwood and foliage details of the sweetheart table.

Earlier I mentioned the creme de la creme flower of this wedding, the white anemones with black centers. These are the pair of lovelies pictured above in the porcelain dish on the right.  Five days before THE big day, Environmental Arts had some stunning news for me; the same anemones ordered for an earlier wedding had made their journey but arrived in less than perfect condition, far from favorable with browning leaves and slime covering the stems.  My heart sank and I spent the entire weekend trying to come up with an alternative flower . . . . white dogwood with dark stems?  Not available.  White magnolias with twisting and turning espresso branches?  Not available either.  I had to face it, there simply was no replacement for these dainty, perfect little blossoms.  By Sunday night I had called and left messages with every floral supplier listed in South Florida for both faux and real anemones.  The majority of Monday was spent on the phone, with suppliers from across the US.  The cold hard facts were that these picturesque anemones had just finished their season, earlier than expected, and were in very large demand and the most lively looking artificials were able to make it in time but the shipping alone was going to cost three times the price of the original budget. 

I had almost admitted defeat when an e-mail from dear old dad popped into my inbox.  His message read that he would be fed-exing some mail from Wyoming and to be on the lookout for it.  Wait a minute . . . . they might just have artificial anemones in Wyoming!  I knew it was a stretch but I called up the local Casper Hobby Lobby and spoke with the floral department.  Yes, they have something called anemones!  Yes, they have white petals and a black center!!  Can they send me a photo?  No.  Call to dad.   ME: "can you go to Hobby Lobby in a hurry, take a photo of this anemone, send the photo to me, then possibly buy the entire stock they have, and fed-ex the box to get here by Thursday???"  Dad:  "no sweat baby!"

Dad's photo proved that indeed we had the right flower and off they were shipped.

On Tuesday morning I miraculously received a call from Environmental Arts that their supplier had a box of anemones just arrived and they looked splendid.  They were soon on their way to the island after all! 

Not only did we have the precious and now very appreciated real anemones, we also had 9 stems of the faux to get creative and set the scene.  Here a pair are on the parasol basket; a perfect placement as they were far larger than the real so made a stronger visual impact for the hundreds of photos that ensued.  Thanks dad!  Your my hero every day, not just for this weddings save the day!

Stephanie truly looked the part of a Grecian goddess!

For the ceremony Stephanie knew she wanted to keep the decor minimal to not take away from the view.  In her gallery of inspirations she sent there was one photo of a pair of urns holding towering branches on either side of the aisle.  I knew this would be this couples ideal set-up as Stephanie is 6' tall or more in flats and Andy must be well over 6'5."  (Pastor Padmore is around 6'4" for reference)  Almost any minimal decor would look  . . . . well, TOO minimal next to these two statuesque physiques. 

Not only are they tall, they are also blessedly elegant!  All who witnessed this special occassion can clearly see these two are seamlessly matched.

Stephanie expanded on the Grecian style with the cake, beautifully executed by Diane Guess, featuring gold laurel leaves, ribbon, and details.

Stephanie also had several photos of lovely birdcages in her inspiration gallery.  We put these to good use welcoming the guests as they arrived.

The little lanterns created a warm glow for guests exit as well.

Stephanie had the general idea for the bouquets in that she knew she wanted primarily white, fluffy, and round in shape.  I requested Environmental Arts use a dash of white anemones amongst white peonies, white rananculus with green cores, chincherinchee blossoms with their little black bead centers, and white stars of bethlehem.  They made the wonderful suggestion of adding mini coin crest and green lilacs for accent color.  Stephanie brought the Greek key patterned gold and white ribbon which made the bouquets much more unique than the standard white trim.

The bridesmaid bouquets were slightly smaller versions of the bridal bouquet, minus the infamous white anemones!  Not only were the bouquets oh-so-pretty, they smelled heavenly!

Very early on in our style discussions, the intentions were to give the originally December wedding intended black gowns a more relaxed look with accessories.  Beaded necklines were removed and Stephanie found these bold, fun aqua and lime necklaces and earrings that did the trick with panache.  To go along with the spectacular Grecian one shoulder gown she herself decided on, the entire bridal party wore jeweled sandals which not only looked great, were very practical for the beach.  

Environmental Arts did a highly impressive job with the style of boutonniere I specified, I just adore them!  I believe this detail should not be made with overly feminine and fluffy flowers.  I prefer the men to wear a style complimentary to a wedding yet a touch masculine, more graphic and simple in shape and finished with more natural or organic details like the twine you see here.  

This photo displays that the ultimate goal was very much achieved.  Here you have it; a glowing tropically lush and woodsy tablescape amongst  . . .

minimal and contemporary surroundings.

With the right stylist, anything is possible!  

TC Millwork Design would like to thank this gracious couple for the fabulous opportunity to turn their dream into reality.  We would also like to thank all the vendors and assistants that made this wedding possible.  BIg thanks to all the super friendly bridesmaids and guests who we chatted with and who offered help!  Stephanie and Andy, we wish you all the best and hope to see you back in the Turks and Caicos soon!

All images by Stacie, please stay tuned for the far more spectacular and justice giving images to come from the professionals at