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.

St. Patrick’s Day and Spring Bonanza

Nothing says St. Patrick’s Day like a touch of green, right?

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So nothing says St. Patrick’s Day better than 32 touches of green. That’s what I’m telling myself.

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We were having about 20 people over for book club and I wanted to table to just “whisper” St. Pat’s and not scream it. We’re not Irish and don’t really get into the celebrations here in Chicago, but there’s something to be said for a city that takes its melting pot of heritages seriously.

When I found these beautiful napkins at Tuesday Morning, I was thrilled — but there were only two packages of eight. Not enough for my party. I didn’t buy them, but the next day I found myself still wanting them. I buzzed out to the other Tuesday Morning a little farther from my house and they had two sets also. They also had some other wonderful beauties, but that’s a story for another day. I grabbed the two sets, scurried back to the original TM, praying that the other sets were still there, and found my holy grail of napkins. Thirty-two gorgeous green napkins for book club and parties beyond.

Of course there’s always a little fly in the ointment. After laundering, they needed to be pressed, but there’s something soothing about the rhythm of spraying and pressing linens.

P. S. If you were wondering why I’ve been slow to post over the last couple of weeks, I’ve taken on the responsibility of producing a musical at my church. It’s gonna be pretty time-consuming if the last weeks are any indicator. On the other hand, doing my tablescaping and taking the photos is a welcome escape.

P.P.S. For a view of some amazing St. Patrick’s Day decorating, click here to visit Cuisine Kathleen’s St. Patrick’s Day Blog Crawl.

Reblog from Quintessence: NY Botanical Garden Orchid Dinner

Yes, it’s getting old. Snow and more snow.

I encourage you to click into these two posts about the New York Botanical Garden Orchid Dinner. The place settings are awesome and just what we need if you are someplace where winter is still out in full force.

Click on the photo to go to Quintessence for more beautiful table settings!

Click on the photos to go to Quintessence for more beautiful table settings!

NYBG-Orchid-dinner-James-Rixner-for-Saint-Louis-PuiforcatHave a lovely day and enjoy whatever weather (or orchids) your day brings you.

Jennie

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