Saturday, December 31, 2016

Times Like These

I for one, am happy to see 2016 end!
It has been a year unlike any I've personally lived and while I worry about the future, I'm hoping that 2017 is better than the last and we can "learn to love again."
While listening to an old favorite song this morning, I asked myself what can I do to make 2017 better in "times like these." 
So instead of the proverbial New Year's Resolution where I say I'm going to lose weight and work out more, drink more water and get more sleep, yada yada yada...
I'm going to try to incorporate these 5 changes in my life, however small in to the new year.
One human connection at a time:

  1.  Give out compliments!  We could all benefit from a little recognition and validation.
  2.  Be kind to strangers, even just to say "Hello."  "Good Morning"  "How are you?"  I believe  these small connections can make a difference, if we all do it.
  3.  Listen.  Listen to others, even if you disagree with their views, beliefs or politics.This could be  hard because we have all surrounded ourselves with others who share our beliefs, so listening  to opposing views and understanding their viewpoint is key to making a change for a better  future.
  4.  If possible, perform a random act of kindness.  Again, large or small like holding a door open  for someone or offering to help a friend with something they could use help with. 
  5.  Every morning, awaken with gratitude and sit, coffee in hand, appreciating the gift of another day. 

I know I sound like Pollyanna, but I'm guilty of not doing much of the above and living in my own bubble.
That's why I intend to watch more HGTV instead of the "news!"
Less social media and time on the computer, except for blogging.
And yes, I hope to lose weight, work out more, drink more water and get more sleep too.

"It's Times Like These"
An old song and one I've always loved, but it means more to me now than ever.

"I'm a new day rising
I'm a brand new sky
To hang the stars upon tonight"

"It's times like these you learn to love again
It's times like these time and time again"

Wishing you all a Happy New Year in times like these!
Let's make 2017 the best year ever, one human connection at a time.

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Wednesday, December 21, 2016

A Greek Inspired Christmas Tablescape

 Christmas traditions shared by friends and family are to me what makes the season so special.
One tradition that is dear to me is a holiday dinner hosted by my friend.
Last Saturday was our twelfth holiday dinner and the table was so awesome, I had to share.

  The table was Greek themed, starting with the gold layers patterned with a Greek key edge.

Our placecards were even written in Greek!

The centerpiece was a collection of busts wearing crowns of boxwood.

They all looked like Greek gods!

White roses, white amaryllis and boxwood in little mint julep cups completed the centerpiece.
Flower arranging is obviously my friend's passion!

 An urn in the hall holds white hydrangeas and winter greens, lit with lights.

Simply breathtaking!

 At the base of the urn, a Greek crown sits atop a book of Greek art.

 Of course the menu was entirely Greek, starting with avgolemono soup, followed by lamb and Greek green beans.
Dessert?  Baklava!

I really do think my friend outdid herself on this one!
I don't think I've ever seen a more elegant table setting.  
It's pure eye candy!
When I think about the effort that went in to creating it, it's mind boggling!
Want to see more eye candy from my friend?
Follow her Instagram, The Boxwood House.

I'm linking to Savvy Southern Style for Wow Us Wednesday.
Between Naps on the Porch for Tablescape Thursday
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Friday, December 16, 2016

A Tartan Christmas Table Redux

 What a surprise when I unpacked these "Joyeux Noel" salad plates, which were in storage for three years.
It was like Christmas!

I love the way they go with the tartan dinner plates and linens so much that I decided to use them for two Christmas tablescapes.
First, for last night's Christmas company dinner party...

...and second for Christmas Day dinner with family.
Afterall, I need to get my money's worth!
All $3.99 per plate from Homegoods.

Silver chargers, little trees in silver pots... 

...and the centerpiece of red and white flowers in a silver engraved champagne bucket add to the tartan tablescape.

You might remember this tablescape from Christmas 2013, featured in our old dining room.
I think it was one of my favorites.
I'm not going to lie, I miss that dining room!

But it's fun to recreate the same tablescape in our new dining room.

Even though the new dining room is much smaller, it is also more intimate.
And cozy!

The dining table fresh and updated and ready for our first Christmas in our new home!

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas!

Joyeux Noel salad plates:  Royal Stafford
Tartan plaid dinner plates:  Pacific Rim
Silver chargers, plaid linens:  Homegoods
Crystal wine hocks:  Vintage heirloom from Grandma
Red water glasses:  Vintage Anchor Hocking
Bone handled silverware:  Restoration Hardware
Mini Christmas trees and flowers:  Trader Joe's

Linking to Savvy Southern Style for Wow Us Wednesdays.
Between Naps on the Porch for Tablescape Thursday
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Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Simple Christmas Decor

 Last Thursday, I went to the San Francisco flower mart, hoping to stock up on paperwhites, garlands, wreaths and greenery to deck the halls.

Even though this is our first Christmas in our home, I'm not going all out, instead concentrating on an all natural look using flowers and plants.

 I chose holly for its long lasting quality for the newly acquired blue and white porcelain collection.
I love those paperwhites, but they're already spent!

Trader Joes had boxwood wreaths for under $10 and I loaded up to hang them on mirrors.

 For the mantel, I chose a leafy garland and white amaryllis.


 More of the same garland for the dining room chandelier.

Since we are hosting a holiday dinner next week as well as Christmas dinner for our family, I will end up at the flower mart again for centerpieces, etc.

Where is the tree, Mom?
I know.  Coming up...
This year, I'm thinking of just a small, table-top tree to sit atop the piano.
If we're feeling energetic, maybe a large tree in the family room.

I like pacing the decorating throughout the season.
It's more fun that way.
Just put on the carols and deck the halls!

Linking to Savvy Southern Style for Wow Us Wednesday.

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Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Our First Thanksgiving In San Francisco!

 For our first Thanksgiving in our new home, I chose Johnson Brothers Windsorware plates in the Harvest pattern.
This pattern is one of Johnson Brothers' most sought after and hard to find patterns.

I scored the first 8 of these plates 20 years ago in an antique store and 10 more at an estate sale a few years ago.

They go great with the leopard cowhide rug that has been living on the dining table for months.

I added tartan plaid placemats and matching napkins. then layered bone handled flatware and apple green chargers. 

The amethyst glasses pick up the purple grapes in the plate and my "A" wine glasses found at a garage sale for $1 each--thanks to my friend Jane--are my choice for the table.

Here is the dining room ready for tomorrow.
It's a small gathering of only 8 this year.

Looking through to the living room.

And looking through the door to the kitchen.
This room is the center of the house.

I used good ole grocery store flowers in a pewter vase for the centerpiece.

Setting the table this morning was so relaxing, almost meditative.
I realized just how much I miss creating and playing with dishes.

 I had no idea what I was going to do.
Only that I would use the Harvest plates and keep the leopard rug on the table.
Everything else just happened as I played with what was available, discovering flatware, glasses and napkins that has been packed away for two years.

Wishing you a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Dinner plates:  Vintage Johnson Brothers
Chargers:  Target
Flatware:  Restoration Hardware
Amethyst glasses:  vintage Fostoria
Monogrammed glasses:  vintage
Pewter vase:  Pottery Barn
Cowhide rug:  Sunland Home Decor
Placemats and napkins:  American Living Home by JC Penney

Linking to Tablescape Thursday at Between Naps on the Porch.
Wow Us Wednesday at Savvy Southern Style.
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Monday, November 21, 2016

Tablescape Details

When it comes to designing a tablescape, it's the details that matter.
I like to think it's like designing a room.  
Just like starting with a rug for a room, the tablecloth or placemat is my foundation and starting point for a table, like the burlap placemat above.  
Texture is the key here--the burlap is rough and textural, as is the wicker placemat and majolica plate.
More majolica for the knife rest and the silver flatware is mix-match.

The inspiration for this tablesetting came from a room in an English country cottage that featured a riot of different patterns and floral chintzes that all lived cohesively together.
This placesetting features the same wicker charger, but mixing colorful patterns is the key here.
Green and yellow pottery, layered with brown transferware, followed by a vintage leaf majolica salad plate.
French mini-print Proven├žal tablecloth and napkin adds even more pattern.

If this placesetting was inspired by a room, it would be a Swedish country room with lace curtains at the window, pine furniture and white linen slipcovers.
The key element here is the lighter, cream color featured in the placemat, charger and light floral plate.  Of course, the mini white pumpkin adds the final touch.

This setting was not inspired by a room, but rather mother nature.
I love brown and green together, and this placesetting picks up on those colors with the brown floral napkins, echoed by the oak leaves and acorn edged plate.  A green majolica plate brings in the green and bamboo flatware complete the natural, woodsy setting.

Layering is the key here.  I love seeing how many plates I can layer on a placesetting.
This one starts with a brown leather charger, followed by an amethyst colored majolica charger and finally two layers of purple transferware--a dinner plate and soup bowl.
I love how there is a purple stripe on the burlap placemat!
Out of site is a brown and purple floral napkin.

All of these dishes would be wonderful choices for Thanksgiving or a harvest dinner for fall.
I am gearing up for my Thanksgiving table, so revisiting these tablesettings from the past gets me so excited to play with my dishes once again!

Linking to Inspire Me Tuesday at A Stroll Thru Life.
Wow Us Wednesday at Savvy Southern Style.
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Friday, November 18, 2016

Your Opinion Please

Help!  Our olives have been picked, pressed and bottled, so I am trying to design this year's label.
The problem is, I can't decide which one and Mr. A has his opinion too.
I'm leaning towards this one.  
Here's an option.
But I think it looks like it belongs on a bottle of beer, not olive oil...
The "ombre" design is clean and simple...
This option features a kraft paper design, plus my own photo.
Problem with this is that white spot on the photo...
I really like this one, but Mr. A does not.
He thinks it looks "synthetic."
Whatever that means...

 We ended up with a three quarters of a ton of olives this year.

 That's the most ever!

I have to make a decision today on the label design as we are picking up our oil this weekend.
Which one do you like the best?
Your opinion please!

(Sharing this post at French Country Cottage for Feathered Nest Friday.)
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