Friday with Friends: A Textural Tablescape

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It all started when I spied these adorable little cafe chair napkin rings at Pier One. I knew I had to have them in my collection. The pink and cream loosely woven napkins seemed right for the textural tablescape, so I started with those as a color theme.

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Then, knowing the IRONY in buying a burlap-wrapped vase with French script writing on it, I decided to build a Frenchy centerpiece for my table that would look pretty while my house-sitter was living at my house, but which would not require any maintenance.

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I popped fake flowers into the vase, got out my flameless pillar candles and some woven decorative ornaments, and put it all on a wooden platter. I had a centerpiece.

When we got home from France, I replaced the fake flowers with some pink roses from the grocery store. They didn’t hold up very well, and quickly began to droop. I liked the blowsy, fading glory look of the centerpiece better that way.

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We were eager to see our neighbors across the street after our trip, so I invited them over for dinner and a little music-making. We are all working on Godspell at my church and wanted to play through some arrangements Music Man has done for the pit band. Thank goodness, my friends don’t get excited when I get out my “stuff” and the men are quite self-actualized and don’t get offended by a pink-themed table. 🙂

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We began with a little champagne. I have a large collection of wine charms, some of which are store-bought and some my friend and I made by choosing very specific charms relevant to our lives. Needless to say, I usually take the saxophone charm. I like the juxtaposition of the two stages of polish on the silver against the shiny brass of the wine charm and the sparkling champagne flute.

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I started with the round woven “straw” placements I got at Tuesday Morning. I kept shopping until I found three packages of four placemats. I almost always buy twelve linens just in case.

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I have eight of these majolica-style Italian plates that I bought many years ago at a home store. I picked the strawberries, cherries, and apples for this table as the fruit has pink coloring. There are also plums, grapes, and pears in the set.

IMG_9249 BCombined with my trusty Pfalzgraff Filigree plates, the Fostoria salt and peppers, the Gorham Chantilly silver, Anchor Hocking tumblers, and Crystal d’Arques Longchamp wine glasses, I had a tablescape.

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We finished our meal with fruit, cookies, and candies brought by our friends and served on Fostoria plates and my favorite fruit compotes (really shrimp cocktail bases!). It was a wonderful way to spend an evening winding down after the stresses of the week — and recovering from jet lag.

For the recipes for this meal, check out my other blog, Got My Reservations. The Slow-Cooker Lasagna is definitely a keeper!

I’m linked up today at Between Naps on the Porch for Tablescape Thursday. Check out the creative and beautiful tablescape designs!

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What Makes You Think That Is French?

I’m going to Provence and Paris soon.

We’re scheduled to go to this flower market. Beautiful.

One of the things that I’m going to be looking for is whether or not or not our Americanized vision of shabby chic French is actually something French people do in their decorating.

I’m not so sure.

I’ve only been to France once, and I’ve only been to Paris and Normandy. I’ve seen beautiful cotton lace, I’ve seen lovely textiles, and I’ve seen well-worn finishes on furniture. I’ve also seen classically elegant rooms like this one.

What I’m not sure about is all of the things I see on American blogs using layered laces and trims, chippy paint, and white, white, white. I’m pretty sure that there is more to French decorating than that.

I feel as though I’m going out on a very thin limb here, and maybe I’ll fall off with a big thud. Or maybe not.

I’m eager to find out what people are buying in Provence and Paris and I hope to post photos for you to see.

Or do we care?

My mother-in-law did, and as a result, my house is full of beautiful Provencal furniture and dishes from France. And none of them is painted white or is chippy.

I can’t wait to find out. That is one of the reasons for travel — to find out what one does not know.

Are you with me on this?

Happy Easter!

I’m thinking of my parents this morning — they created many special Easters for my brothers and me.

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I’m pretty sure that my mom made that beautiful dress for me, too.

But it wasn’t Easter without going to church and singing Christ the Lord is Risen Today. In our family, Jesus was the reason for the season, even if we did love the pagan trappings of the Easter Bunny.

Here’s a blast from my past that has been part of my Easter celebrations for almost all of my life. It’s also not Easter if Peter Cottontail’s song isn’t cranked out of my treasured Easter music box.

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IMG_7479Sometimes an oldie is still a goodie — when it comes to our religious celebrations as well as our secular ones. Enjoy your day — whatever you are celebrating.

Spring Shopping Sortie

The French word sortie means to dispatch a fighting unit on a mission and I was on a mission — one to find out what my favorite home decor stores had waiting for me for spring! I started with Pier One.

I was immediately drawn to this Frosted Swirl Stemware. Not really practical for drinking wine, but oh-so-pretty.

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Also at Pier One, I loved these Color Dots Stemware.

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The cupcake tree reminded me of all the beautiful centerpieces I’ve seen using  stacked cake plates. I pinned this one from Note Songs.

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These settings were also very springy — the Happy Floral stemware isn’t really me, but makes for a striking tablescape, and I loved the layered texture of the two napkins with the burlap bunny ears napkin ring.

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Sometimes, a creative thought can go a little awry. I’m trying to figure out how one would explain to one’s grandchild about the bunny having an Easter egg in his tummy. Hmmm…

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The cute little chick makes a lot more sense and accomplishes the same thing. And I love the polka-dotted napkin — but I saw a similar one yesterday at Tuesday Morning that was MUCH cheaper. 🙂

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Bottom line, my trip to Pier One did not “force” me to buy any new Easter decor items, but unfortunately, in setting up the links to this post, I discovered that the red plaid napkins I got on sale (and love, love, love) are still in stock and on sale online. I may have to buy some more…

I’m linked up today to Show and Tell Friday at My Romantic Home and Feathered Nest Friday at French Country Cottage. Be sure to stop by and spread the love.

Have a wonderful weekend!
Jennie

Shabby Chic Stoneware Pitcher

Yesterday, I featured a white stoneware pitcher as the centerpiece in my Elegant White and Gold Tablescape.

IMG_7241BBThe pitcher was a salvaged item that my hairdresser was throwing out years ago. Obviously, I grabbed it and it has been patiently waiting its turn for its closeup.

This was the inspiration for my shabby chic pitcher centerpiece.

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I saw this embellished pitcher sitting on the sale rack at Home Goods. Please forgive the poor photography — I took the photo with my cell phone, but I knew the concept had promise. It was lonely there on the shelf, looking as though it belonged in Great Expectations with Miss Havisham…

… and I thought I could do something similar but not quite so sad for my Elegant White and Gold tablescape.

I looked at cotton lace remnants and other options at Jo-Ann’s Fabrics, but finally settled on the gold filigree wired ribbon which complemented the embroidery in my placemats nicely. Then, while standing in the checkout line, I saw the cute glittered rose pins in the $1 bin and I knew I had my look. Not quite as shabby, but much more chic. 🙂

IMG_7231BInspiration comes from the strangest places sometimes. I’ve learned to trust my instincts and go with it.

show and tell fridaysToday I’m linked up with Show and Tell Friday at My Romantic Home. I loved Cindy’s post about roses — be sure to stop by and see her beautiful photos!

Have a lovely weekend — I have to go run my snowblower now!

Using Grandma’s Silver: Appetizer Tray

Sometimes the simplest things are the best.IMG_7218B

Slap some baby carrots and whatever veggies you have in the house in some bowls or ramekins and add some purchased guacamole. Put them on Grandma’s silver platter (or your thrift shop treasure) and Voila! You have a healthy appetizer for the family as they wait for dinner to be ready. Or a snack if a friend drops by. There is no end to what you can do to make a party with a piece of silver.

There’s no reason not to use your silver. Every day.

I’m linked up today at Wow Us Wednesday at Savvy Southern Style. Stop by to be inspired by the creative ladies you will find there!

Flower Arranging for Your Valentine’s Day Table

Your sweetheart may be coming home today with a Valentine’s Day present that looks like this arrangement of long-stemmed pink and red roses.

If that’s the case, leave it alone and enjoy its beauty. The millions of dollars spent is well worth it.

But, if you are like most of us, you are more likely to receive a bunch of flowers from the market or grocery or you may even choose to buy your own.

I bought mine at Trader Joe’s for a total of about eighteen dollars. (Just so we’re clear, Music Man would have brought home flowers but he had knee surgery and he hasn’t been out of the house for two days.)

IMG_7105BIf you get a lovely armful of cut flowers, the first thing you need to do is put them in water. Yeah, as soon as they walk in the door grab anything that will hold them up and keep them in water until you have time to arrange them.

Next you need to decide what you are going to put them in and here’s where it gets tricky.

Take a good luck at the flowers; are they fully open or in bud? In my case, the alstroemeria is not yet open but the roses are in pretty good shape. They will both open up with some household heat and time. The way the flowers will open in their maturity should drive the type of vase you use. For example, tulips look good in a vase with a smaller top opening that will allow them to drape as they open.

Because I like low mounded arrangements on my table, I’ve chosen a small white stoneware tureen. Its  bold angular shape will be a nice counterpoint to the rounded softness of the flowers. But, because it’s a very shallow bowl, the stems of all of those long-stemmed roses must be severely trimmed . Be brave; it will be worth it in the end. The first thing I do is trim the stems about halfway and strip off any leaves that will be in the water.

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Now that you’ve made the first cut, it will be easier to make the second one. Look at how many roses you have versus how many of the other types of flowers. You want to make about four smaller bunches. Gather your flowers together, rubber band the stems, and then measure them against the bowl or vase again. Still too long or just right?

Obviously, this won’t work with fragile stems such as tulips, but it’s perfect for roses and woody-stemmed flowers.

IMG_7116BNext, take the greenery that came with the flowers and make it work in your centerpiece. Cut the long pieces into shorter pieces to tuck into the arrangement.

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IMG_7119BFinally, look at the arrangement and fluff it.

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With any luck, you have the perfect low centerpiece for your table that looks professionally arranged and you did it yourself.

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For more flower arranging tips, check out Val at Eat Drink Garden and England’s famous Sarah Raven.

I’m linked up today with Susan at Between Naps on the Porch. Be sure to stop by to see the posts from many inspired bloggers.