Monday, November 30, 2009

O Christmas Tree

I'm joining Susan at A Southern Daydreamer for Outdoor Wednesday.
Check the box: We got the tree and put the lights and ornaments on. I always feel like once we have the tree, I can proceed with the rest of the decorating.

I have been collecting Santa ornaments for about ten years. So the tree is decorated with the collection, plus all the ornaments that have a woodsy theme. Although I don't like theme trees, I find that when decorating the tree, I gravitate toward the natural look. The skirt is just landscaping burlap that I wrapped around the bottom.

One of my favorite Santa ornaments. He is wearing an apple green felt coat trimmed in pinecones.

Another one of my favorites. This Santa is headed for the slopes! I found him in Calgary, Canada years ago. He was one of the firsts of my collection.

Another skiing Santa. How cute is he? He is wearing all white shearling and even has a burlap bag full of toys on his back.

This Santa is wearing a red felt coat with toggle buttons, lined with shearling. I love the detail.

Christmas is extra special this year because of our granddaughter Reese! She is 16 months old and full of wonder and curiosity. It will be so much fun to see Christmas through her eyes--the magic of it all.....

One of my favorite "natural" ornaments. Jute and burlap--no glitter! More Christmas decorating coming soon.....

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Friday, November 27, 2009

A Little Leopard Here and There

I love a little leopard here and there -- on pillows or lampshades, it can be just the right touch. Here are a few photos of the leopard elements I have used in decorating our home.

One of two Bergere chairs in our Asti home. I splurged on the Ralph Lauren linen fabric.

The lampshades and chair are in our Master Bedroom and Bathroom at home in the city. The fabric is velvet.

Sconce in the living room. I love these shades. They are paper and I think they were all of $10 from Lamps Plus! (The red walls will be painted a more neutral "burlap" shade after Christmas.)

The stairway runner. Another splurge. The stairs make three turns which proved very difficult to install. It was worth it though. This carpet wears like iron!

I found these Ralph Lauren placemats at Marshalls and couldn't resist incorporating a little leopard (and burlap!) in the Christmas tablescape.

Perhaps I should use this photo for the next Tablescape Thursday! Afterall, Christmas is now just around the corner......
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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Tablescape Thursday Lite

The night before Thanksgiving everyone is home and preparing for tomorrow. The table is set in the dining room and Aaron and Ashley are in the kitchen cooking things ahead of time. So this is Tablescape Thursday Lite! I set the table in the kitchen for Wednesday night's dinner. Nothing too exciting as all my energy went to the main table!

The plate is vintage Mason's "Fruit Basket" found in antique stores and Replacements Ltd.
Charger and salad plate is Bordallo Pinheiro majolica found at various stores over the years.
The stemware is called Boopie from Anchor Hocking, vintage found in antique stores or eBay.
The knife is Laguiole from France, currently available at TJ Maxx, as well as the napkins.
Placemat from Target!

Happy Thanksgiving!
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Sunday, November 22, 2009

The Guest Cottage

Recently when staying the weekend at our home in Asti, I decided to do a "photo shoot" of the guest cottage. Actually, we don't use the house for guests, but instead it is our master bedroom. When we have guests staying with us, they usually sleep in the main house. We love having our own separate quarters except when it's raining and we have to walk in the dark to go to bed! Otherwise, it feels more special to sleep here. Like having our own private spa retreat!

The house is divided into two rooms. The bedroom is in the back providing total privacy with a view of ancient oak trees looking north. In front is the sitting room with a sofa bed for extra guests. In between the two rooms is the bathroom.

View of the guest cottage looking north. The house was originally a two car garage! The previous owner converted it and I think did an excellent job. He put in a total of seven french doors which takes away from the garage look. Floors are cement throughout. In the future, a mini kitchen could be installed making it self contained.
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Friday, November 20, 2009

Gourmet Dinner Party, Catered by Ashley

I'm joining "Foodie Friday" over at Designs by Gollum today

Along with my interest in design, I'm also a "foodie" -- whatever that means. It's not that I'm that interested in food -- I don't even cook! I'm a foodie by default. My husband, Mr. A has always been the cook in our family. Our daughter Ashley is currently in culinary school and cooks in one of San Francisco's top restaurants. Our son Aaron cooks as a hobby and has catered private dinner parties with his sister.

Our gourmet club decided to be lazy and hire daughter Ashley to cater our third dinner party. Jenny hosted it at her house. Ashley made duck confit, beet salad and Chanterelle mushroom raviolis.

Ashley explaining what we are about to eat. That's Gary on the left (Mr. A) and hostess Jenny eyeing the duck confit!

Homemade raviolis

Heather and Theresa enjoying the party. They are happy they don't have to cook!

Tyrone and April (Jenny's daughter) thanking Chef Ashley for a delicious gourmet dinner. The next one is at Heather's house December 5th. The "planning committee" (Tyrone, Jenny, Heather and Delores) decided on Cioppino for the main course. Unfortunately we are on our own this time as Ashley is working full time in San Francisco at SPQR.

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Thursday, November 19, 2009

Tablescape Thursday

I'm joining Susan at Between Naps on the Porch for Tablescape Thursday for the first time!
The plate is Johnson Brothers Windsorware in the Harvest pattern. I love this plate! It goes with everything: from velvet to burlap placemats, plaid to toile napkins, formal and rustic. I love putting purple wine hocks with it to bring out the grapes--a favorite theme of mine. I have used this plate three times for staging a table setting in various kitchen tours and it looks different each time. Hope you like it as much as I do. Happy Thanksgiving!

I'm fortunate to have the huge platter!

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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Burlap and Grain Sack Mania

I fell in love with burlap several years ago thanks to Ballard Designs. They were one of the firsts to feature burlap fabric with their skirted table rounds. Some even fringed! Oh my! After that, I gravitated to anything burlap--especially lampshades.

My burlap phase expanded to include vintage grain sacks from Europe. At the Alameda Antique Show I found a dealer who had 7 sacks, all the same. I paid $25 a piece for them! Maggie of "Maggie's Slipcovers" was brave enough to make them into slipcovers for two Parsons chairs. She is from Hungary and remembered the grain sacks from her childhood. Using these sacks for upholstery material is a challenge as some of them are 50 to 100 years old! You can find these for sale on Ebay. There is a dealer who specializes in vintage European grain sacks, mangle cloths, linen, flax etc. Check her out!

Close up of the fabric for the Parsons chairs. Notice the rough texture. So wonderful!

I found this handmade lampshade made from a vintage grain sack at the Hillsborough Antique Show.

Another handmade lampshade from a vintage German grain sack. Also found at the Hillsborough Antique Show.

This lampshade is a reproduction. I'm starting to see more and more grain sack reproductions. Have you checked out Pottery Barn and Restoration Hardware recently? They have jumped on the burlap/grain sack bandwagon! Pottery Barn has pillows, table runners, lampshades, etc. All of which I'm afraid to admit I bought! Restoration Hardware has Belgian linen and grain sack pillows too.

Which brings me to one of my purchases I probably should have left alone. Originally, I found this burlap pendant light in Anthropologie. There was very little information about it and it was so expensive. But I couldn't stop thinking about it. Then I happened to find the same light for sale on Ebay for half the price. So I bought it. It is HUGE! I plan to hang it in our home in Asti over the kitchen island. I haven't quite made the commitment yet, so it sits on the floor still.

Is it the times? It just seems that the design trend these days is leaning toward the natural fabrics, slipcovered linen sofas and chairs, aged wood and seagrass rugs. Lots of texture. It has been called Gustavian, Belgian, European boho, etc. Either way, I love it and want to change everything now! It is time to simplify........
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