Monday, November 29, 2010

How to Personalize a Basic Christmas Wreath


The wreath we bought at Costco looks pretty good already, with the pine cones and berries, but I wanted to gussy it up a little.

So, I took some upholstery webbing, which I already had on hand, and stenciled the letters "Merry Christmas" with a magic marker pen to make a banner.

Using a hole punch, I made a hole on either end of the banner and slipped jute ribbon through, tying it around the wreath. Twine or a more decorative ribbon would also look good.


I should have made the banner a little longer, so plan for that when you begin stenciling your letters.
This idea would also look great on any kind of front door wreath with the words "welcome" or "home sweet home" too.

And there you have it! From basic to beautiful in about 15 minutes!

Here's the white poinsettias I also bought at Costco. Don't you think they look great in the pine cone urns?
Many of you are wondering where I bought them. I found them at Wisteria, and unfortunately they are no longer available. Even though they are made of pine cones, they live in the entry year 'round.

"It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas" around here!

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Turning 21 in Italy!

Of all places to celebrate your 21st birthday!
Since we couldn't be there to celebrate with you....

....I baked a special "cyber cake" just for you!

And added some "cyber candles!"
After all, it is Cyber Monday today. Maybe I should do a little cyber birthday shopping too!

Happy Birthday Alex!

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Sunday, November 28, 2010

Decking The Halls With Fresh Greens And Flowers


Christmas Inspiration set 1

When it comes to decking the halls at our house, I prefer using fresh greens and flowers of the season. I love how they make the house smell like Christmas!
Just grouping fresh cut greens and plants in ironstone containers gives this mantel an elegant and sophisticated holiday look.

I prefer the earthiness of this mantel though, with the pomegranates, cedar garland and little Christmas trees in rustic pots.

What an interesting mantel display! An asymmetrical arrangement of potted trees and metal obelisks, but what catches my eye is the bowl of white amaryllis on the table. I love having blooming flowers on display for the holidays!

Another inspiration photo to copy, this arrangement of cranberries and white mums is so easy to do, especially at the last minute! No bulbs to deal with here, just a bag of cranberries and a bouquet of flowers. For a more formal centerpiece, I would use white roses!

It takes some planning to have bulbs like amaryllis and narcissus in bloom throughout the holiday. Planting several pots of narcissus in succession in November is recommended. I also look for blooming ones in the grocery and gardening stores.

Last year, the narcissus were magnificent in this urn, an heirloom passed down from Mr. A's mother. Also known as "paperwhites," they smell wonderful!

There were paperwhites in the dining room too, and I tucked cedar and spruce branches amongst the red transferware and green majolica plates. I'll probably end up doing this again!

Also last year, I put red poinsettias in the pine cone urns in the entry. This year though, there will be white ones!

If you like using fresh greens and flowers for your holiday decor too, Costco has beautiful wreaths for $14, and their 25 foot long cedar garlands are a deal at $17. There are also huge poinsettias plants for $15, along with amaryllis bulbs already planted in containers.

Mr. A and I fought the crowds at Costco yesterday and bought our wreath, garlands and poinsettias for the entry urns.
And so the process begins. Today, we are "decking the halls with boughs of cedar!"

Christmas 2009

I'm joining The Tablescaper for Seasonal Sundays today. The holidays are just beginning, so be sure to check out all the seasonal inspiration there.

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Wednesday, November 24, 2010

A Traditional Thanksgiving Table


At Thanksgiving time, I find myself longing for tradition and a feeling of home and sense of place. It is truly my favorite holiday. I look forward to our grown children and grandchildren coming home and I want them to have warm, happy memories like I do.
So for Thanksgiving, I wanted the table to be very traditional, but with a hint of the unexpected.

I had originally planned to use the new grain sack table runner with the caramel stripe, but it just wasn't working for me. I really wanted a richer palette for the table...

Last night, after realizing the runner was a no go, I panicked for five minutes, then poured myself a glass of wine and started pulling linens out of drawers!
I found this paisley tablecloth from Pottery Barn, purchased two years ago. The right side of it is quite red, so I flipped it over and found the wrong side to be perfect with the muddy taupes and autumnal reds.

Suddenly, everything started falling into place. The colors of the tablecloth worked great with the plates and centerpiece.



I ended up mixing the old Johnson Brothers Windsor Ware plates with the new Johnson Brothers turkey plates as many of you suggested. They actually work quite well together.
The chargers are brown leather with a fleur de lys pattern. The table was beginning to come together the way I had always envisioned it to be!

Deer horn knives mix nicely with my wedding and vintage silver plate.


I made the centerpiece this morning with leftover sunflowers from our dinner party last weekend and a few bunches of mums and greens from the grocery store. The smell of the eucalyptus is wonderful!

The inspiration for the table's color palette was the Japanese Maple outside the dining room window. It's ablaze in autumn reds!
My goal all along was to create a traditional Thanksgiving table of warmth and abundance with all the colors of the season, evoking a feeling of comfort and love. I had a "Norman Rockwell" picture in my head!

Playing Peeping Tom again, looking through the same window from the outside; I love how the colors of the tree are reflected.
Dexter is wondering what in the world I'm doing!

Back inside, the morning light is making for some great photo opportunities.




At first, I was a little disappointed the caramel stripe runner didn't work, but this wool paisley tablecloth provided the look I was going for all along.

It looks better in the kitchen, don't you think?

I'm joining Susan's tablescape party at Between Naps On The Porch.
Tablescape Thursday should be amazing this week with all the Thanksgiving tables.
Be sure to check it out in between cooking and cleaning in the next couple of days!

Happy Thanksgiving!

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Monday, November 22, 2010

I Can't Decide!

I can't decide which plate to use for the Thanksgiving table. I know, such a dilemma!
Having 30 years behind me of hunting and gathering from estate sales and antique or thrift stores for treasures, I have a few patterns to choose from.

This plate is one of my favorites. The brown border depicts garden implements, while the face of the plate is a colorful woodsman scene. It's made by Royal Staffordshire, and called "Rural Scenes." You can see them in a tablescape I did back in January here.


My old standby is this Johnson Brothers plate of harvest fruits. I have collected 19 of these "Windsor Ware" plates over the years. Depending on how many we end up having at our table, these plates will be perfect. You can see these plates in a tablescape I did for a wine dinner here.


Then there are these Johnson Brothers plates. Called "Woodland Turkey," they are the quintessential Thanksgiving plate! I unfortunately only have 8 of these. Believe it or not, they were quite a find at Tuesday Morning, for only $5.99!


Tomorrow, I will begin to set our Thanksgiving table. Luckily, I now have this wonderful caramel stripe runner as my inspiration. After passing it up at the antique show, I couldn't get it out of my head. I was able locate the dealer to purchase three yards for a runner. It was delivered today, just in time!

So, which plates would you choose?
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Friday, November 19, 2010

When Bloggers Create: The Rough Linen Photo Shoot


Thursday, I had the pleasure of meeting fellow bloggers, Terri Long from La Dolfina, Reichel Broussard from Copy Cat Chic and Tricia Rose from Cabin On The Water. as well as Lisa Dell'Osso from Little Church Interiors.
Terri invited us all to her home for a photo shoot last week. She and I have become blogger friends, so it was a thrill to finally meet Terri in person!

When I arrived, Lisa was working on this table setting. Lisa is one of the most talented interior designers I've ever met, so it was inspiring to see her in action. She gathered items from around Terri's home and worked her magic. I arrived just in time with my camera to photograph her vignette.

The purpose of the photo shoot was to feature the linens from Rough Linen, Tricia Rose's company. The napkins in this photo really capture the natural color and texture of her linens.

I love how Lisa artfully arranged the two napkins together with the bone handled knife and silver one juxtaposed with each other.

Terri has such wonderful collections to create with!

Now it was my turn to hunt and gather in Terri's house for a different vignette featuring Tricia's linens. Together, Tricia and I found these rustic elements and created a Provençal table in the autumn sun. I showed Tricia how to use my camera, and she took this shot herself.


Although this photo was taken in Terri's backyard, it has the feel of the South of France, don't you think?


While we were creating our rustic outdoor table, the girls were inside creating another elegant table in Terri's dining room.

This time, Terri and Reichel were at work with their own special tablescape, pulling items from Terri's buffet.

I really like the way the napkins are folded here. So lovely with the flower too.

How gorgeous is this!?
Three different tablescapes, all with the same linens showing how diverse Tricia's Rough Linen products are. They can be at home in an elegant setting as above with porcelain and silver, and also at home outside on a rustic table with herbs and old cutlery.

We had so much fun creating our tables with Terri's wonderful vintage things. She has such an eye for finding just the right accessory. Her blog, La Dolfina is one of my favorites, and I love to follow her adventures as she hunts and gathers for treasures.

It was so much fun meeting fellow bloggers from the Bay Area. I was so impressed with Reichel from Copy Cat Chic. Reichel's blog is amazing! She also has an eye for design, as you can see by her tablescape above. But most of all, she can find you what you are looking for at a much lower price, hence, "copy cat chic!"

And of course it was a pleasure meeting Tricia Rose from Cabin On The Water, and the owner of Rough Linen.
We had fun putting our heads together and finding just the right objects sitting atop Terri's refrigerator for our Provençal table!

Thank you Terri for pulling us all together for some creative fun!

Be sure to check out Terri's blog La Dolfina, if you haven't yet.
Also, Reichel's blog Copy Cat Chic is a fun one to visit.
And please drop by Tricia Rose's blog Cabin On The Water, as well as her website Rough Linen, featuring duvet covers, shams, dust ruffles, napkins and tablecloths all in the perfect washed linen you have been searching for!
We are all hoping that Lisa will someday start a blog. I'm not holding my breath, though!

(For more photos, you can visit my Vignette Design Facebook page.)
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