Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial Day Barbecue

Come and join us for our first al fresco dinner party of the year!
What a perfect night! The temperature was 75 degrees and there was a soft breeze. The table was set outside under the mulberry tree for our weekend guests and us.

I didn't get too crazy with the tablescape. Using my new willow chargers from Ballard Designs and the plates that we found New Year's Day at a local antique store, I set a simple table for four. Napkins are from Pottery Barn.

The succulents were perfect as the centerpieces, adding more texture to the rustic table.

There was this delicious seeded sourdough bread from a local bakery in Sebastopol. It was the perfect bread to accompany the menu.

Which included this lovely fennel salad with just a touch of olive oil and sea salt.

Also, this arugula, tomato and avocado salad with balsamic vinegar and olive oil.
Mr. A barbecued rack of lamb!

As the sun set and the music was playing in the background, we enjoyed the meal with a lovely bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon. We toasted to our 28th anniversary, as well as our friend's 60th birthday!

I tried to capture the Blue Hour again, however, it turned out a little blurry. Still, it looks like a memory.....

How romantic is this!

Great food, great company, great evening.
Great Memorial Day Weekend!

I'm linking up to Marty at A Stroll Thru Life for Tabletop Tuesday.
Wednesday is Outdoor Wednesday at Susan's A Southern Daydreamer.
As well as Centerpiece Wednesday at The Style Sisters. I also will link up to Susan at Between Naps on the Porch for Tablescape Thursday
and Michael at Designs by Gollum for Foodie Friday.
Thank you ladies for hosting!

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Sunday, May 30, 2010

And The Winner Is.....

And the winner of the April Cornell tea towel is Laura Engalls Gunn from Decor to Adore.

As part of my giveaway, I'm including a bottle of our own olive oil!
Congratulations Laura!

Thank you to everyone who participated. Also, be sure to check out April Cornell's online store for more gorgeous linens here.

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Friday, May 28, 2010

Our Wine Country Guest Room

This is our guest bed in our weekend home in Asti. Although it is for guests, we end up sleeping here most of the time!

The reason? We sleep better here than anywhere! I want it to feel like being pampered at a fine hotel.The mattress is no longer available, and I cannot even remember what brand it is, but for some reason it is extra soft. Like sleeping on a cloud. I found the high thread count sheets at TJ Maxx. They're like silk.

I bought this pillow from Leeann at Fabulously French.

It is so quiet here. No airplane noise, no cars, no television, just silence. There is a little collection of vintage books on the dresser to peruse.

I've stocked the bathroom with fluffy white towels and scented soaps.

In the morning, it's so nice to sit in here and have our coffee.

And enjoy this view from the french doors.

Can you tell I'm looking forward to the long weekend? We will be celebrating our 28th wedding anniversary this weekend. Three full days of quiet. Three full days of doing nothing but watching the birds and maybe a little gardening.
I can't wait!

I'm linking up to Cindy and My Romantic Home for Show and Tell Friday, and Laurie at Bargain Hunting With Laurie for Favorite Things Saturday.

Don't forget to enter my giveaway here. I will announce the winner on Sunday.
Wishing everyone a wonderful, relaxing three day weekend.
Happy Memorial Day.

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Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Saturday in the garden

Saturday was gardening day. I stopped at the nursery in Healdsburg on my way to Asti and purchased soil and plants. This is my favorite nursery as it has everything a gardener could ever need and more.

Like chickens! Chickens roam around the nursery among the plants. They are for sale, and so are their eggs. Unfortunately, I can't have chickens yet. Someday though....

The plan was to spend the whole day gardening in Asti. The Anduze pots needed to be filled, tomatoes and herbs needed planting. I even had plans to redo the window boxes. Mr. A had other plans, so it was just Dexter and I with the whole afternoon to garden and spruce up.

I soon realized planting these Anduze pots required professional help! I called Ventura, my gardener, who sent in reinforcements. These guys had it done in no time.

Oh, I love it! So much better than the old cement urns.

I like how the green Anduze pots compliment the green stripe fabric on the furniture. The red geraniums just "pop" now!

With that project over, the gardeners left and I got busy planting more succulents.
They are the perfect plant for a weekend house, since they don't require a lot of water. I'm so glad I "discovered" them.

Dexter provided moral support!

Besides all the planting, the lanterns needed washing from being left out all winter. They are ready for the summer with new candles.

I hung my new Pottery Barn candle jars from the mulberry tree.

Another couple of weekends, and it will be warm enough to eat dinner under the tree with all the candles lit! I can't wait!

All in all, I ended up replanting 6 window boxes and 4 clay pots with red geraniums and white Bacopa.

Moving over to the vegetable garden, I planted basil to go with the tomatoes for our favorite summer salad: Insalata Caprese.

Speaking of tomatoes, these heirloom tomatoes have doubled in size.

My back hurts and my hands are destroyed (I never wear gloves), but it was a very productive day!

I'm linking up to Susan at A Southern Daydreamer for Outdoor Wednesday.
Be sure to visit her for more outdoor photos and inspiration.

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Sunday, May 23, 2010

Weekly Words to Live By

"Life is meant to be lived fully, and enjoyed deeply, and our homes are the great backdrop upon which our lives unfold. They are where we begin and end each day. Any room in which we spend time should feed us, nurture us, and improve the quality of our lives. People are what bring rooms to life." --Barbara Barry

I'm joining Tracey at Notes From A Cottage Industry for Weekly Words to Live By. Visit her blog for more inspiration and quotes.

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Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Anduze Pots

The French vase d'anduze originated in Provence in the 16th century. These urns are still being made today by artisans the same way their ancestors did.

They are called Anduze pots because they are made in the small quaint town of Anduze in the South of France. I am in love with the shape and form of these urns, and have been on the hunt for a pair for quite a while.

Oh, be still my heart! I love this red one!

For all you turquoise lovers right now, here is the perfect distressed urn.

This color green is what I'm really looking for though. All the images above can be found at Authentic Provence Garden Antiques here.

I ended up buying this pair of urns from Big Daddy at the Alameda Antique Faire this month.
I swear they weigh 150 lbs. each! Mr. A and I had quite a time getting them to where they are going to live.

The plan is to replace the cement urns. Although they are smaller, I think these two green Anduze pots will be more of the look I want.

Transplanting the soil and flowers from one urn to the other will be quite a job.
I'll let you know the final result later, as this is as far as we got with the project!

If you love Anduze pots like I do, be sure to check out the beautiful Authentic Provence website. They specialize in all things provencal, from fountains to limestone flooring, and of course Anduze pots!

I'm linking up to My Romantic Home for Show and Tell Friday, and Bargain Hunting with Laurie for Favorite Things Saturday. Thank you Cindy and Laurie for hosting.

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Monday, May 17, 2010

Sundown and the Blue Hour

The sun is going down, the warm breeze is becoming cooler and the birds are doing their happy dance before sunset.

I climb the stairs to the balcony and have a look.

Looking west, the fog is starting to roll in.

In the kitchen, the last bit of sun is shining on the island.
Time to start dinner.

While Mr. A is barbecuing, I am trying to capture "the blue hour" with my camera.

It's getting darker and darker.....

The Blue Hour!

I finally captured it!

Light is fading.

Good night moon!

For more Blue Hour inspiration, visit The Blue Hour Site.

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