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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Paisley, I.


First things first...We are truly blessed to have the means to set a pretty table and invite our friends to join us for good food and fellowship.  As the harvest season approaches I am mindful that many are not so fortunate.  My daughter has a passion for the work of the Food Bank.  As a singer-songwriter, she has written and recorded a song that is the anthem for the world wide Crop Hunger Walk project.  Her song, "Raise Your Voice" is featured in their video.  I've included a link in the side margin of my blog.  I hope that it will encourage you to support projects in your community that contribute to the effort to overcome hunger.


I. Really. Like. Paisley.  I wanted a paisley tablecloth...and I couldn't find one that I thought would work for me.  One day, while trolling around on eBay, I happened to try a search for Russian Wool Scarves.  Bingo!  I found a wonderful, extremely large 72" x 72", paisley wool scarf that was just what I visualized.  It was located in Australia, and a few weeks later, I was ready to design my table with my new paisley cloth.  Let's hear it for thinking outside the box!

Periodically, I like to invite just a few close friends to share a meal and spend some quality fellowship time.  Today there were five of us, so the game table in the living room was a good choice for our luncheon.  Although I didn't have the extra time that I would need to create a floral centerpiece, the marvelous color palate of fresh fruits available during the fall season was perfect against the vibrant colors of the paisley wool scarf.  The black tole container, a $10.00 estate sale find, mimicked the black border and fringe on the scarf.  The antique Barley Twist candlesticks were purchased at a local antiques store, Nottinghill Antiques.  www.nottinghillokc.com.  I often place a couple of crystal decanters on my tables filled with water, wine, or tea.  My guests can refill their glasses with ease, and the reflective value of the crystal is always a desirable design element.

I've always been fond of optic crystal with its vertical lines that appear to dance when set against candlelight.  These goblets were my mother's; they are Mikasa "Stephanie Gold."  The napkins are Madeira, and they are another of the sets that belonged to our precious Nana.  For today, I used my everyday stainless flatware, Towle "Antique Bead."  Do you see the three candles on the refectory table behind the corduroy striped chairs?  They are part of a number of styles from Fringe Studio.  www.fringestudio.com.  Tip:  I usually purchase them in multiples...when I have finished burning the candles, I then have a nice group of small vases to use down the center of a table as my centerpieces.  They are so pretty!  On one occasion, I ran across the Fringe Studio candles at Tuesday Morning.

I'm a huge fan of luncheon plates!  Most English manufacturers made 9" - 9 1/2" luncheon plates.  Luncheon plates from French companies are more likely to be 8" - 8 1/2".  Tip:  When you serve on a luncheon plate, you can easily use a dinner plate as a service plate.  This increases your options exponentially.  Today I used a cranberry glass dinner plate as a service plate.  They were an estate sale find for $3.00 each.  Woohoo!  My luncheon plate is Copeland Spode "Peacock," an eBay purchase.  I love the contrast of the blue against the vibrancy of the corals and oranges in the paisley wool scarf.

Sometimes I just get lucky with my tablescape designs.  It was serendipitous good fortune that my tablescape worked well with the McGuire Regency Rattan Screen inset with coral Fortuny Silk and our black lacquer baby grand piano.  This day, I looked like a much better designer than I actually am.  I also liked the color connection between the green apples and the Wicker Works "Balustrade" green crystal lamps on the unsealed marble refectory table.

Today I'm serving a Salad Trio:  Tarragon Chicken Salad, Tuna Salad, and Fresh Fruit Salad accompanied by Croissants with Honey Butter.  For dessert I've prepared my mama's recipe for Brandy Ice.  There's the doorbell; my friends are arriving.  I hope to include you at my table some day.  Let me know if you pass my way!  There will be a chair waiting for you right next to me!



BRANDY ICE

6 oz. Brandy
1 oz. Crème d'cocoa
1 oz. Drambuie
1 oz. Triplesec
Mix combined liquors with 1/2 gallon premium ice cream, about a third at a time in a blender.  Freeze at least overnight.  If you put the half gallon of Brandy Ice back into the original plastic ice cream container, you can tie it with a bow, and it makes a great Christmas gift to exchange with friends.  This is my mama's recipe.  I now follow my mama's tradition and give a half gallon container of Brandy Ice to my friends for their Christmas Eve dinner.  It's always a hit.

You can check out KC's music at www.kcclifford.com, on iTunes, and on YouTube.  I hope that you'll take a few minutes and give her a listen.  You'll also enjoy reading back through her blog on this site.  The girl can really write!  Her latest CD is called "Orchid."

    

Thank you, yet again, to Susan at Between Naps on the Porch for hosting her magical meme, "Tablescape Thursday.  I'll be linking my post to "Tablescape Thursday.  Click on the button below to hop on over and check out the myriad of marvelous tablescape designs, after 9:00 pm on Wednesdays.  You'll be glad that you made the trip...it's a wonderful adventure.     


Sunday, September 26, 2010

The Bungalow, Part IV.

First things first...We are truly blessed to have the means to set a pretty table and invite our friends to join us for good food and fellowship.  As the harvest season approaches I am mindful that many are not so fortunate.  My daughter has a passion for the work of the Food Bank.  As a singer-songwriter, she has written and recorded a song that is the anthem for the world wide Crop Hunger Walk project.  Her song, "Raise Your Voice" is featured in their video.  I've included a link in the side margin of my blog.  I hope that it will encourage you to support projects in your community that contribute to the effort to overcome hunger. 


We've completed our tour of the public areas in KC and David's tiny bungalow, and this week I want to give you a peek at the Master Bedroom.  Small houses are far too often bereft of adequate storage. Even so, this compact Master bedroom presented KC with a little jewel in the form of an attached sitting room/office.

Because KC and David are both professional musicians, they have a plethora of musical and recording equipment.  KC immediately had a vision for how she wanted to transform this blessed, tiny extra space.

A soothing blue on the walls makes this a calm sanctuary for KC and David at the end of the day.  The Persian carpet came from KC's great-grandmother, Nana.  The vanity was also Nana's.  It used to live at our house; I gave it to KC when they moved into this little house.  KC gets ready here each day.  The European Pine armoire was in KC's room as a child.  Because it is a vertical piece, it gives her lots of storage and takes up a minimum of floor space.  Through the double entry, you can see the hub of David and KC's music business.

The French writing table came from her grandmother's childhood room.  KC has used this desk since she was a little girl, too.  The chair is one of the four that I painted for her when she lived in Nashville, Tennessee.  You'll notice the tote storage boxes from Michael's.  To either side of the door way and across the top of the entry, KC constructed wood shelves for storage.  They are filled with these precious tote containers, and they keep her office supplies and craft materials organized.  They are also out of sight when someone enters the room, making a crowded room appear a bit less crowded.  Tip:  When planning storage in a small space, always think vertically.  When floor space is inadequate, go up, up, up!  In the top right hand corner of the photo, you can catch a glimpse of another one of the light fixtures that KC carries with her whenever they move.  It is a wonderful fabric covered ceiling hugger that she found at The Lime Leopard in Oklahoma City.

Around the corner and to the right in the little office, you'll discover this comfy spot.  You'll often find KC curled up here writing music, reading, or napping while David works at the desk.  The minute KC spied this valuable little spot of real estate, she knew that she could use it to good effect.  She bought her wood, got busy with the power saw, and built this herself!  It is just the right size to hold a twin mattress.  I donated the matelasse European shams from a bed in one of our guest rooms, and the quilt was one of KC's Christmas gifts some years ago.  The silky peach comforter at the end of the daybed belonged to Nana.  It was made in the 1920's.  The floor lamp was also Nana's.  

The lace panels below were yet another find in that old box of Nana's things that KC's daddy gave her.  They are held in place using clip-on rings over extension rods.  The height of the bed was carefully determined for a very specific reason....

Because KC and David are full-time musicians, they have a multitude of guitars, mandolins, dulcimers, and other equipment.  It can become overwhelming if these instruments have to sit around in the house.  Those cases do a great job of keeping the instruments safe, but they don't have a great deal of decorative value.  KC built her daybed with enough space to accommodate all their instruments...such a great idea!  Out of sight, out of mind.

KC will always be a talented singer/songwriter, but I think that she might also have a second career as a custom furniture designer.  The girl is fearless!  I am in awe of the projects that she tackles.

The crewel duvet and bedding were purchased at Pottery Barn.  KC uses this ensemble to dress their bed for Fall and Winter.  The small secretary and chair in the corner are more of Nana's things that have found a home with KC and David. 

     KC and David bought the two framed posters on their honeymoon.  They are "Organic Geometry I" and "Organic Geometry II" by Aleah Koury.  I think that young couples who choose to use their vacation 'spending money' on art for their homes make an extremely wise choice.

KC and David have worked so hard to make their home what they want it to be.  I am thrilled for them.  Next week I want to give you a quick look at the results of KC's decorating efforts in the bathroom.  You're going to be amazed at the changes.  Hope you'll come back and visit again.




You can check out KC's music at www.kcclifford.com, on iTunes, and on YouTube.  I hope that you'll take a few minutes and give her a listen.  You'll also enjoy reading back through her blog on this site.  The girl can really write!  Her latest CD is called "Orchid."



I am linking to Susan at Between Naps on the Porch for her weekly meme, Metamorphosis Monday.  On Sunday evening click the button below to link to all the wonderful bloggers who are participating in Susan's party this week.  Thank you, Susan, for providing this marvelous forum.







Thursday, September 23, 2010

Table Jewelry

First things first...We are truly blessed to have the means to set a pretty table and invite our friends to join us for good food and fellowship.  As the harvest season approaches I am mindful that many are not so fortunate.  My daughter has a passion for the work of the Food Bank.  As a singer-songwriter, she has written and recorded a song that is the anthem for the world wide Crop Hunger Walk project.  Her song, "Raise Your Voice" is featured in their video.  I've included a link in the side margin of my blog.  I hope that it will encourage you to support projects in your community that contribute to the effort to overcome hunger. 




Aunt Ida was a W.A.C. Major during and after World War II.  She was an intelligence officer stationed in post war Tokyo.  Ida adored Japan; she became fascinated with the culture and the arts of Japan.  As a little girl I remember that when she returned to the United States, she brought back many beautiful antique Japanese articles which she purchased while stationed there.  They graced her home for many years.  Today my sister and I are the blessed caretakers of her personal treasures.  One of my favorite legacies from Aunt Ida is a set of six antique chargers.  I've always thought of them as Imari, but I really don't know that for sure...I just know that to me they are as beautiful as fine jewels.  Because I have so few of them, I can only use them with small groups.  This day I felt fortunate to share them with three friends for lunch.

I decided not to use a tablecloth or placemats because I thought that the wrapped rattan base of the McGuire game table became a valuable design element when paired with the Imari Chargers.  I also liked the colors of the Persian rug underneath the table in combination with the colors of the plates.  The over-sized rattan chargers are from WalMart.  When I bought them, they were an amazing $3.86 per charger...deal of the year.  Tip:  I am an advocate for chargers/service plates for many reasons.  I have discovered that one of the benefits of using a charger is that when I use table linens, they rarely become soiled!  That extra bit of plate usually catches any drips or spills.  I can frequently return them to the linen closet to be used multiple times without needing to be laundered.  Makes me a happy camper!

When I bought my flowers at WalMart,  I chose colors from the interesting palate found in the chargers.  The old cloisonné 'peacock' bowl with carved handles was our precious Nana's.  I elevated the centerpiece on an antique oriental base.  I always keep an eye open for bases in assorted sizes when I explore estate sales and antique shops.  A good base can make even a modest container seem more important.   Tip:  When I entertain, I usually ask if any of my guests are entertaining in their own homes any time soon.  If so, I often send a guest home with the centerpiece to be used again...my kind of recycling.

The dark bamboo handle flatware was a fortunate find from Big Lots.  I paid less than $1.00 per piece for them...such a deal!  The vintage Madeira napkins were Nana's.  I chose them because of the unusual border design.  I like that the geometric pattern in the napkin is reflected in the multi-colored 'blades' on the plate.  I also thought that it echoed the rings in the flatware handles.  For me, the napkin effectively contributed cohesiveness to the design elements in my tablescape.

Nana was an accomplished hostess, and she collected an abundance of beautiful tabletop items during her life.  I've always appreciated these Art Deco Lalique tumblers with the palm fronds.  Did you notice the palm leaves on the charger?  I've never seen these glasses any place else, but I would definitely like to obtain more.  Please, let me know if you happen to run across them for sale...or if you happen to know the name of the pattern.  The crystal goblet is Rosenthal, "Iris," and is part of my wedding crystal.  I chose it for today because the petal in the goblet is replicated in the center blue 'pinwheel' on the plate.

Two of the chargers live as part of the normal vignette on the refectory table in the background.  If you look carefully, in front of the charger plate on the right is a cloissoné peacock that matches the centerpiece bowl.  It is one of a pair.  When they first came to stay with us, I didn't particularly care for them.  Over time, I've come to appreciate them, and I now enjoy using them occasionally.  They are definitely funky little fellows!

I wanted the design on the charger plate to remain visible throughout the luncheon, so I served the meal on a clear glass dinner plate.  You can pick them up for $1.50 each at WalMart.  Tip:  When I serve on clear plates, I make an effort to serve food that won't become mashed and smeared on the plate.  For example, today I served a large salad that featured shrimp, grape tomatoes, and white beans on a bed of baby leaf spinach with hot cheese bread.  The plates were pre-served and kept chilled in the refrigerator until everyone was seated.

Lunch is ready, and everyone is prepared to be seated.  I wish that you could have joined us today; I'll be happy to set an extra place just for you the next time.  I think that you would be a wonderful addition to the conversation. 


You can check out KC's music at www.kcclifford.com, on iTunes, and on YouTube.  I hope that you'll take a few minutes and give her a listen.  You'll also enjoy reading back through her blog on this site.  The girl can really write!  Her latest CD is called "Orchid."
    

Thank you, yet again, to Susan at Between Naps on the Porch for hosting her magical meme, "Tablescape Thursday.  I'll be linking my post to "Tablescape Thursday.  Click on the button below to hop on over and check out the myriad of marvelous tablescape designs, after 9:00 pm on Wednesdays.  You'll be glad that you made the trip...it's a wonderful adventure.     



Monday, September 20, 2010

The Bungalow, Part III.

First things first...We are truly blessed to have the means to set a pretty table and invite our friends to join us for good food and fellowship.  As the harvest season approaches I am mindful that many are not so fortunate.  My daughter has a passion for the work of the Food Bank.  As a singer-songwriter, she has written and recorded a song that is the anthem for the world wide Crop Hunger Walk project.  Her song, "Raise Your Voice" is featured in their video.  I've included a link in the side margin of my blog.  I hope that it will encourage you to support projects in your community that contribute to the effort to overcome hunger. 


In KC and David's last house, the kitchen was painfully small, and cooking and food preparation was less than convenient and pleasant.  KC was thrilled that the kitchen in their new home featured more space and included a dishwasher, disposal, and a functioning oven.  It was dull and drab the day that they moved into the house...but not for long.  KC had a dream, and she went for it....

She took it from dull....

and lackluster....to....

a personal expression of herself, full of shabby chic touches and cottage colors.   The island is an old butcher block table that we used to have in our home years ago.  She painted it the same sky blue that is on the living room walls.  The goblets underneath are Waterford Marquis.  The lace panels above the wooden cabinets were installed to provide some additional storage for items that don't necessarily have 'display value.  The vintage lace fabric was in that old box of Nana's that Sweet Mr. gave to KC when we cleared out his mom's house.  Can you see the black rod that stretches from wall to wall.  Have you ever needed to hang an extra long rod, only to have it sag in the middle because you didn't have the ability to place a center support?  Tip:  Electrical conduit is the size of many curtain rods.  It comes in 12 foot lengths and costs less than $10.00.  The cool thing about it...it is incredibly stiff, and it will not sag when stretched a long distance.  Have you ever tried to hang a cafe curtain across a huge picture window?  Sagged, didn't it?  Electrical conduit will not sag; just spray paint it black to look like wrought iron...or any color that you want.  You can find rings to fit it, and your can locate brackets to attach it.  In this situation, we used the cup type holders that are used for closet rods.  You can adapt finials, if needed.  I've been known to use bottle stoppers, tennis balls covered with fabric....you'll only be limited by your imagination!


Cups are always such a pain to store!  KC spaced cup hooks over the sink, and used her Johnson Brothers "British Pink Castles" to create a valance over her kitchen sink.  I thought that it was a brilliant idea that solved a space shortage with flair!  Her whimsical ceramic placards provide inspiration and humor for anyone standing at the sink, up to their elbows in soap suds.

KC appreciates her great-grandmother's old bread box, that sits alongside one of  a pair of 'straw hat' lamps flanking either end of the counter.  The Pottery Barn sage green linen panels are simply hung from an extension rod across the double wide door to the laundry area.  They provide camouflage for the utility room, if desired when entertaining.

KC created a pot rack from a metal wall plague that she found at Ross for $12.00.  She mounted it with toggle bolts to provide support for her pots and pans.  She built the book case for her cookbooks from scrap wood, and she painted it the same yellow that she used in the dining room.  The piece that you see holding her utensils and pot lids is actually an antique wooden ironing board that she bought at a flea market years ago.

After removing the leg apparatus from the back, KC used scrapbook papers from her stash to cover the ironing board.  She cut the paper into squares, and using good old Mod Podge, she created a charming collage.  She attached hooks for her utensils and a lid rack, and voila!...her kitchen utensils are at hand each time that she needs to access them.

KC definitely had a vision for the breakfast room, and it had nothing to do with a dinette table and chairs.  This is probably the most popular space in the house when KC and David are entertaining.  The drop leaf table is just the right size for dinner for two.

The Soleado/Pierre Deux fabric covered ladder back chair and the blue and white plaid sofa were in KC's room as a child.  She has carried them with her for years, and they still have a classic timeless look.  I had to choose to be a really nice mother to let her take the ladder back chair....I adore ladder back chairs!  The lamp table in the corner was Nana's.  It's part of a nest of three tables.  Enlarge the picture to take a closer look at it.  It's a pretty neat old table.

The pink and white toile smocked panels were ready made and bought from The Lime Leopard, in Oklahoma City.  KC took antique glass door knobs and mounted them on strips of white crown molding.  The knobs were from KC's sister-in-love, http:www.blackberryvine.blogspot.com.  She sewed grosgrain ribbon to the top of the panels to attach them to the knobs.  Also purchased from The Lime Leopard,  the Italian Tole chandelier is another one of the light fixtures that move with KC and David. .  I've seen a number of Tole fixtures on eBay, if you want to find one.  The antique Welsh Dresser belonged to KC's aunt and uncle.  They were generous to give it to her.  She uses it to display one of her wedding patterns, Vietri, Sorbetto. The side chair is one of four that I painted for her many years ago.

That's our tour for this week.  If you come see me some day, we'll go have a cup of tea with KC and David.  This is my favorite spot to sit and visit for a while.  Next week, I'll share the Master Bedroom and Sitting Area.  See you then!




You can check out KC's music at www.kcclifford.com, on iTunes, and on YouTube.  I hope that you'll take a few minutes and give her a listen.  You'll also enjoy reading back through her blog on this site.  The girl can really write!  Her latest CD is called "Orchid."



I am linking to Susan at Between Naps on the Porch for her weekly meme, Metamorphosis Monday.  On Sunday evening click the button below to link to all the wonderful bloggers who are participating in Susan's party this week.  Thank you, Susan, for providing this marvelous forum.



   

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Autumn Birthday Brunch

First things first...We are truly blessed to have the means to set a pretty table and invite our friends to join us for good food and fellowship.  As the harvest season approaches I am mindful that many are not so fortunate.  My daughter has a passion for the work of the Food Bank.  As a singer-songwriter, she has written and recorded a song that is the anthem for the world wide Crop Hunger Walk project.  Her song, "Raise Your Voice" is featured in their video.  I've included a link in the side margin of my blog.  I hope that it will encourage you to support projects in your community that contribute to the effort to overcome hunger. 


The Garden Friends enjoy celebrating birthdays for everyone in our Bible study.  Today we celebrated with a brunch for Debbi, our September birthday girl.  All across blogworld, many talented contributors have been immersed in Fall and everything that goes along with it.  I've been inspired by the wonderful posts that I've seen, and I have decided to embrace the elements of Fall for my tablescape today.  

The front doors are all dressed for Autumn and waiting for the guests.  Before brunch was served...

...each guest was offered a Mimosa.  I painted the inexpensive "Bed Bath & Beyond" flutes using glass paint.  I baked them in the oven, and they have been used many times.  The color is "Emperor Gold."  Tip:  Sometimes when I'm hosting a bridesmaid luncheon or bridal shower/luncheon, I'll paint another 24 of these flutes.  After using them for the party, I give 12 to the bride and 12 to the MOB.  They are always a hit!

The dining room table was set for eight...

...and with the addition of the Flip-top Table Top, the game table in the living room was set for seven.

I chose the soft cream color of old Madeira linen tablecloths from our precious Nana.  The Madeira napkins on the dining table were bounty from an estate sale that I explored this past weekend.  There were 12 napkins in excellent condition for $18.00.  SCORE!!  I have been searching for this Victorian reproduction French Wire basket for a long time.  I found them just this week at Hobby Lobby on half-price sale for $8.00 each.  Two baskets were placed on the dining table, and the game table featured one.  I bought three fall bouquets at Sam's and deconstructed them to create my centerpieces.  Tip:  They are secured in Oasis sitting in the large round plastic lids that you get when you buy a tray of cookies from a bakery.  To camouflage the plastic, I cut leaves from a Photinia bush in the backyard.  I slipped them between the plastic liner and the wire basket...let's hear it for roadsidea!  A pair of three-light sterling candleabra, a wedding gift, and an Indiana Glass, Ruby Flash Compote, bought on eBay completed the centerpiece vignette.

The brown charger is an inexpensive resin plate from Hobby Lobby.  The service plate is topped with a Royal Doulton, "The Beaufort," dinner plate.  The browns in the chinoiserie center design and the brown furled cartouches were perfect for an Autumn tablescape.  The silver flatware is Reed & Barton, "Grande Renaissance," my wedding silver.

The raised design in the red Fenton "Empress" goblet complemented the cutwork in the tablecloth and the design in "The Beaufort" plate...

...and the sun streaming through the goblet was almost magical.


With a few modifications, I was able to achieve the same design for the second table.  I made the brown undercloth, and the square table topper is actually a vintage Madeira bridge table cloth that was Nana's.


Some of Nana's lovely old Madeira napkins and my mother-in-love's Reed & Barton's "Francis I" also fit right into the look.


The AJKA "Arabella" goblets were set on a kitchen counter for guests who chose to enjoy a glass of wine.  I bought these years ago at Tuesday Morning.  I wish that I had bought more.  They are still available, but they now cost more per goblet than I paid for a set of four.


Everything is in place....


The resplendent colors of Autumn have set the tone...


Choose your seat...


...and save me the seat next to yours!  I'm excited to get to know you better.







Thank you, yet again, to Susan at Between Naps on the Porch for hosting her magical meme, "Tablescape Thursday.  I'll be linking my post to "Tablescape Thursday.  Click on the button below to hop on over and check out the myriad of marvelous tablescape designs, after 9:00 pm on Wednesdays.  You'll be glad that you made the trip...it's a wonderful adventure.