Monday, November 9, 2009

Holiday Tablesetting

The Holidays are fast approaching and my thoughts are turning to decorating and entertaining.
I recently had the opportunity to create a Holiday Table Setting for an event at the Ohio Design Centre. The event was lovely and the bird snow globes (picture right) were a HUGE hit.
Everyone loved the birds!

As I began my planning for the table, I went shopping. I perused all my favorite places looking for the starting point - my inspiration. I found it in the very cool snow globes that I discovered at...of all places...Pier 1. The beautiful color of the birds referenced the silk on the chairs and the color of fall. starting point.

My next decision was whether or not to use my newly acquired set of antique dishes. I had them so it would be nice to use them...but at times I felt that they were a bit limiting. As I shopped I never found a set of dishes that I thought would be a better fit for the elegant table. Gold chargers with richly colored napkins would dress up the place setting and pull it together.
So, it worked out. Wonderful to use what I have - not that I couldn't buy a new set of dishes for every holiday. I have a small dish addiction.

Table for Holiday Table scape at the Baker Knapp & Tubbs showroom at our Cleveland showroom.
The table and chair style is a tad traditional. I decided to reference the traditional style but infuse the scheme with a few modern touches.

I thought a series of table runners would be the best approach for the beautiful wood table that I was using. Place mats felt just too dated and one long runner would not provide enough protection for the table surface...table runners are the answer.
But after many hours of searching for just the right material (I am sooo picky) for something ready made (NOTHING OUT THERE!!) and with the deadline fast approaching, I stumbled upon a beautiful trio of scarves while shopping.
Perfect! I simply modified the scarves with a few quick seams (see my sewing machine pictured above) and I had my table runners. With more time I would have selected fabric from the Design Centre and had custom runners made by a local workroom. Time and money...always a factor.

I think these runners are perfect...beautiful, quick, and readily available.

Pictured above - Holiday Table Scape at the Baker Showroom.

Very pretty and festive!

Large pear and amber glass candlesticks by Baker.

Place Setting

Gold charger with dinner plate, napkin, and decorative beaded leaf.

I found a set of dishes this summer at a local antique shop and fell in love with them. Not to make an impulse buy, I decided to think about the dishes a while before making a final decision. My thoughts returned to the dishes week after week. One Saturday morning I accompanied my hubby on a visit to the antique store to pick up a vintage drafting table and...they were still available - it was a sign - I had to buy them.

The set is Viceroy by Homer Laughlin circa 1941 and it has service for 12 with lots of the accessory pieces. There are a few chips here and there, and over time I may search for replacement pieces, or not. I think that the pattern is somewhat neutral and can be dressed up or down depending upon the occasion. The set is perfect for us as we do not do a great deal of formal entertaining.

Post shopping note: dressing the plates up - not so difficult - dressing them down - very difficult.

LOVE, LOVE, LOVE these bird snow globes!!!

Floral arrangement to add color and sparkle.

What a wonderful warm glow!!

I can't wait to use these ideas for my own Holiday Table.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Timberframe Journal - Lighting

The light fixtures for Lawry's Timber Frame have arrived and I wanted to share our selections with you.

The bulk of our selections were from Fire Mountain Forge located in Livingston, Montana. The fixtures are hand-forged and have a beautiful finish. We selected their rust with satin finish - to die for beautiful!!

Pictured right is the Tivoli fixture. This chandelier will be centered in the Great Room and will be flanked by two slightly smaller Venetian fixtures (pictured below.)

Hammerton PL2108 pendant picture above will be centered above the Kitchen island. We selected the river rust finish with mica shade. The mounting bracket is a custom to accommodate the sloped ceiling. I can't wait to see this fixture installed. Hammerton has some truly breathtaking fixtures in their line. Be sure to visit their web site to see more.

2nd Avenue Lighting - Lakeshore - we will have two Lakeshore fixtures located above the Dining Table. These are 18" diameter fixtures in an antique rust finish.

Fire Mountain Forge Rebota Sconce for the Hall adjacent to the Den.

Now for something kicky and fun - Craftmade Fans Frontier Sconce. This sconce will be in our Powder Room and add a warm glow to the space. Lawry's a cowboy so I thought we should have at least one antler sconce.

Troy Telluride Semi-Flush Pendant fixture for the Hall.

Fire Mountain Forge Prairie fixture for the Master Bedroom.

Hubbardton Forge Swing Arm for beside the bed in the Master Bedroom. Love the Hubbarton Forge offerings and I have used their products on many projects. Steve and I recently had dinner at Hillebrand in Niagara on The Lake. The winery had wonderful large Hubbardton Forge fixtures and they gave a lovely glow to the space.
Hillebrand Winery - Niagara on the Lake - very, very yummy wine and food.

Fire Mountain Forge Edison Single Sconce for the Master Bath

Old World Chandelier for the Guest Room

Somerset Bath Bar for the Guest Bath

Holiday Decorating -

Let's talk turkey.... How cute is this little fellow from Williams-Sonoma??

I have been perusing for fall decorating ideas and wanted to share some of my beautiful discoveries with you.

Pottery Barn has some wonderful autumn decorating items. The colors are excellent and the designs are crisp and simple. Perfect.

I think that there will be a little foraging for acorns in my future. I love the way they look in a glass container. Doesn't it just make you long for a glass of hot apple cider?

Mixed Leaves Vase - wonderful for fall decorating. Use anywhere you need a pop of fall color.

Vase Fillers - a set of seven. I love the idea of using mirrors to expand space. Imagine if these beautiful vases were set on a buffet in front of a proped or mounted mirror. The mirror would refect and "double" the effect - twice the color and twice the fun. Good Feng Shui.

Table setting from Toasts and Tables. The amber glasses add a wonderful glow to the table. More and more I like the clean look of no table cloth - just runners on the table to define the different areas.

Simple, clean centerpiece. I can also imagine something with a few pheasant feathers.

Pheasant Salad Plates - lovely fall design. Using neutral plates for the "base" provides flexibility. These pheasant salad plates lend a fall feeling to the Thanksgiving table and can be changed out in the future with another plate design for the next holiday gathering.

Another inviting table scene

How fun and versitile are these chargers?? French Wire Charger

Love this earthy look.

Maxfield Flatware - designed to have the feel of a silver collection. Note the variety of designs that work perfectly together. The offering is so new that it is not available until October 8th. I predict it will be a hit.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Holiday Decorating - Let the fun begin!

Fall has arrived!! I can feel it in the air!!

Over the weekend I cut down our cornstalks from the garden and harvested our pumpkins for decorating around the house. Success - we have 7 very cute pumpkins!!

I picked up fallen apples, made a pumpkin pie, and just generally started to embrace fall.

Over the next month I would like to share a few holiday decorating ideas . Let's start with fall...enjoy and let me know your favorites along the way!

I love collecting dishes! Don't these antique amber plates give a rich warm glow to the table. I love the pear supporting the place card.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Belgian Design - Catch the Excitement

Who knew??? There's a name and a source for the style that I gravitate toward...Belgian Design. People will often ask what style I like or how my home is decorated? Swedish just didn't hit the style that I's something else.... not modern, not traditional, eclectic doesn't do it....

I am of two minds (if not more) about a set "style." Before I entered design school I called a local designer and asked her if she found it difficult to work in a style other than what she personally liked. Occasionally her answer will pop into my mind again, giving me a gem to turn over and around and think about when my mind has time and space to drift.

She said "I do have a style that I personally like and am drawn to, but as a professional, I can work across all styles, applying the principles of good design."

In my professional career I have worked across a wide range of styles. Cleveland, Ohio is primarily a traditional market, with some splashes of more progressive design around our fair city. There have been projects on all of our coasts with a wide range of styles.

I have created designs for more traditional clients that I think are very nice and that the clients really enjoy - that's a success. It's not my personal style but they are client spaces that I am happy with. I have designed some very clean, modern spaces, and those are wonderful too.

But I do wonder...about that niche thing....

If designers are working in the "style" that appeals to them most, that which most makes their heart skip a beat, then would the finished product be so much better?? It's conceivable. What do you think? Would our designs be that much better if we deeply developed or worked within one "style?"

Restoration Hardware Salerno Street Lamp

This brings me back to the source of my excitement - Belgian Style - and a recent post from a blogger that I love, Joni Webb from Cote De Texas. It's a wonderful post Joni has done on Belgian Design and the new fall offerings from Restoration Hardware. Seems Restoration Hardware may be choosing a new path for it's stores - and I think it's beautiful! Yeah!

Restoration Hardware

For me, I like a wide mixture of styles and objects...modern, antique, some traditional, campaign, stone, glass, natural soft woods, neutral natural fabrics, dark's a little bit of many styles, but it has a certain feel.

And now I can put a name to that feel - Belgian Style.

Wonderful new blog with more Belgian Design - Belgian Pearls

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Late Summer in the Garden - Tomato Soup

Jax taking a break from munching on the catnip. Doesn't he look a little scary??
I thought it might be time for a garden update and time to share a delicious tasting fresh tomato soup recipe. It's time to start using the tomatoes as they ripen.

Sadly, my garden has been seriously neglected over the past month or so. We have been harvesting cucumbers (first successful batch in 3 years), broccoli, squash, some beets, green beans, and potatoes.
The weeds have run wild due to my experimenting with straw as a mulch. While straw may have kept the moisture in, it also made it impossible to use a hoe and work around the plants and rows. If I tried to pull the weeds they became tangled in the straw. Weeding turned out to be pretty frustrating, so I didn't spend any time fussing with the weeds.

Note for next year - no straw!! Or weed block first and then straw. On second thought - just forget the straw.

The tomatoes are just starting to come in. The cherry tomatoes picture above, Sugar Lump, taste WONDERFUL!!! We just stand in the garden and pop them in our mouths - like little pops of sugar.

These tomatoes are the Big Beef variety. They are okay but not my favorite. They are large and that's nice, but they are a little mealy inside. It's not the firm flesh variety that I like. I'll search on and try another type next year.

They make great soup though....

The Roma tomatoes are lagging behind just a bit. Aren't they just perfect?

Kitty Jax in the garden. It's nice to have company while I am in the garden.

How pretty are these??? LOVE the color!!

Eggplant pizza in my future.

The giant carrot.... that ate the village.

The cabbages turned out very well this year. I have made a batch of coleslaw with one and it was very yummy. They are totally ready now so I'll have to make more coleslaw soon.
I am searching for a really good recipe. Do you have one?? Please send it to me, thanks!
Maybe I will make a batch for the high school football post game party on Friday.

We have picked green beans several times and have perhaps one more time to go. I love fresh green beans. As always, the Blue Lake Beans are good producers and have very few rust spots on them.

Butternut Squash - vounteer seed from last year

Strange thing happened with my butternut squash this year. The Waltham seeds that I planted this year grew but had no squash on the vines. I guess it is a good thing that I didn't pull the seedling above out just because it was in the wrong spot in the garden. It's taken over the peppers but I am glad to have a few squash for making fall soup.

Great marigold this year from seed. I planted Inca II Yellows and they are blooming profusely with giant flowers.

Rosemary happily growing away.
I plant a lot of rosemary because I like to use the stems as skewers for shrimp or scallops on the BBQ.

Basil - smells sooooo good!!

Pumpkin Patch - note the mildew on the leaves.

Yesterday's harvest for dinner. I grew two varieties of corn, one that I selected, Silver Princess Sweet Corn, and one that was sent to me from the seed company as experimental. The Silver Princess grew well and was disease resistant. I have experienced quite a bit of trouble with disease in my soil over the last few years. The Silver Princess was outrageously delicious!!! To die for...

This year when I planted the corn, I buried fish heads from our local fish market, right in the ground with the Silver Princess seeds. I had some problem with the birds pulling up the tender new seedlings in the spring, so that reduced my yield a bit. Next year I will repeat the process of using the fish heads as fertilizer and I'll find a way to protect the emerging seedlings with netting - and of course - plant more corn!!!

The experimental corn, no name - just experimental on the label - was not very successful. I netted two very yummy ears from the three rows that I planted. The rest of the batch was deformed and pretty yucky looking. So I think that I will stick to the disease resistant variety and try to exend my fenced area.

Nasturtiums that I use for decorating my salads and desserts.

I planted several varieties of sunflowers this year. Note the bee on this sunflower.

Tomato Soup Recipe

2 cups chopped carrots
2 cups chopped celery
3 cups diced onions
2 cloves garlic (more if you love garlic)
12 cups skinned and seeded tomatoes
2 tbs. olive oil
2 cups water or chicken stock
2 tbs. salt
2 tsp. sugar (if needed)

Chop all of the veggies to about the same size so that they cook at the same rate.
In a large soup pot, heat the olive oil and saute the veggies about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and saute another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the prepared tomatoes and simmer for about an hour, stirring occasionally.
Remove from the heat and cool a bit. Puree the soup and return to the pot. Add salt and sugar if necessary. Serve with a spoon full of sour cream or pesto on top and garnish with a basil leaf. Enjoy!
*Note: to skin tomatoes, place in boiling water for 1-2 minutes or until skin begins to split. Cool and remove skins and seeds. Skins should slide off tomatoes easily.