Thursday, September 24, 2009

Time For Cocktails!

Image from Winter House

Image From Southern Accents

Image from Mrs.Howard

Whew.... it's Friday! I'm just happy that the sun is out for now (we've been pummeled with rain here in Atlanta) while I write this quick post on bar ware. I've been told it's going to start coming down again later today and tomorrow. So much for doing yard work this weekend! Anyway, I love looking at other people's bar displays--for me it's always very interesting to see what types of Scotch, bourbon, vodka, and, most importantly, bar ware that people use. I especially love it when I see things mixed such as mint julep cups, old etched glasses, wine coasters, Martini shakers etc... But I do have to admit, that I'm afraid that I personally like to stick with the liquor in decanters. I suppose it's just my fear of labels perhaps.

Image from House Beautiful

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Who's Familiar with Osage Oranges?

When the Hubby and I moved to Nashville it was fall - my favorite time of year. The exact date was Oct 30th, the day before Halloween. The reason why I remember that is because the following day I had no candy to offer the trick-or-treaters who arrived at the new place. Anyway, as the movers were busy unloading our stuff, I decided to take a small stroll with Rolle, who had been in the car for over five hours and needed a little walk. While out for our stroll that fall afternoon, Rolle and I discovered something that I had never seen before here in the South--big round green balls that were dropping from the trees.

Later in the afternoon when Rolle and I arrived back at the house, I asked the smallest of our movers, and old-school who I could see was not happy with moving my leftover business inventory (20 75 lb boxes of cast iron garden edgings), and he called them horse apples. I thought to myself, now that's easy enough for me to remember. After living in Nashville for three+ years, I discovered that their real name--Osage Orange. And yes, you see the faux ones in places like Crate & Barrel.

Now, being back in Atlanta, I have discovered that there are a few Osage Oranges here as well. And I've learned that in the 19th century they were planted to keep the bugs away in the summer months. I came home with a basket full of them today. I'm wondering, what else can they be used for... Any thoughts?

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Dining Al Fresco On the Cheap!

I had to postpone my Hubby's birthday party. His birthday falls on Labor Day weekend, so I figured it was best since a lot of people were going to be out of town. Also, I'm still not that happy with my house but I will eventually need to get over that. Anyway, I was thinking we could have it later this month , which will work out better with the temperature cooling down.

Image via Martha Stewart Living

In the past, I have given the hubby themed typed party's; one year it was a Mexican inspired themed with miniature liquor bottles that he knocked out of the pinata. Then I did a barbecue inspired one with the red bandannas. I attempted to do a Hawaii themed once, but this was when I discovered that working during the day and trying to give a party that same evening doesn't particularly work--at least, not for me. What happened was I waited to get a few things the same day as the party. After all, it was Labor Day Friday, so I left the office a little early to go the store. Just when I had the pineapples in my cart, I got a call from my boss and had to go back to my office for a mere ten minutes to prove I was still there. After getting off the phone with her, needless to say, I was not very happy with this huge setback. I started thinking, how was I going to get to the store, gather up my pineapples, pick up my cake that I had special ordered, get home in rush hour traffic, make my appetizer, set everything up, run the vacuum... I was so distraught from the thought of all that that I called everyone from my desk and cancelled. I can assure you that the bakery was not thrilled with being stuck with a huge volcano chocolate cake with the words Happy B-day Hubby!

Image via Williams -Sonoma

For me, the lesson I learned from that incident is to schedule parties on Saturdays or Sundays, when I'm not working with no boss to get in my way! You know, one party that I did not mention before that I gave to the hubby was an Italian inspired party. I did that one in the fall when he graduated with his MBA, and miraculously got a job and some money! So I'm thinking of doing something like that again. This lasagna was one of the first recipes I ever did, and I still do it. I'll have to call my old neighbor Sandy for a fancy vegetarian one to serve as well.

DaVinci Lasagne Supreme

1 pound ground beef
1/4 cup chopped onion
2 tablespoons salad or olive oil
1 can (1 pound) tomatoes
2 cans (6 ounces each) tomato paste
2 cups of water
1 tablespoon chopped parsley, 2 teaspoons salt, 1 teaspoon sugar, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, 1/2 teaspoon oregano leaves, 1/2 package (8 ounces) Da Vinci lasagne, 1 pound Ricotta Cheese, 8 ounces Mozzarella cheese shredded, 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Lightly brown beef and onion in oil. Add tomatoes, paste, water, parsley, salt, sugar, garlic powder, pepper and oregano; simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally, about, 30 minutes. Cook lasagne as directed; drain. In 13X9X2 " baking pan, spread about 1 cup sauce. Then alternate layers of lasagne sauce, Ricotta, Mozzarella, and Parmesan cheese, ending with sauce, Mozzarella, and Parmesan. Cover with foil and bake at 350F for 40 to 50 minutes. Allow to stand for 15 minutes. Makes 8 servings. Ciou!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Who Likes Stripes?

Last year, my good friend Susan was working on her foyer, and like so many of us, she was short in the cash department. She asked me for a few suggestions (Dressing Up the Foyer) and I sent her a few pictures, and then I got tied up with several things, and she got tied up with several things, and so on and so on. So the last couple of times that we've talked we have not discussed her foyer issues.

Earlier this past April when Joni from Cote de Texas posted A Pictorial of Grey Gardens, I thought, hmmmm, I absolutely love this foyer with the beautiful blue striped wallpaper and moldings. I could not take my eyes off it! Now Susan and I have very similar taste; if we don't like something the other one chooses, then we simply say "Oh that looks like you" and we leave it. This is also like my buddy Cruella, who every time I show her something and she absolutely hates it she saids "Oh Lisa that looks like you". This is code for she hates it! Though I just bet Susan will love this. The wallpaper here is Cowtan & Tout (more on the pricier side) and Susan has a nice-sized foyer, not as big as this one above, but a nice size nonetheless.

So here's what I'm thinking for my buddy Susan, and perhaps me too (finally a foyer); to save money, but to add interest, you could paint tone on tone. I'm seriously thinking about doing this to my foyer as well, but it would not come without repercussions. I have a feeling that the Hubby may fall off the scaffold while (his dad did) doing the taping and the measuring for the stripes. Our foyer is not all that big, but it does go up the stairs, and I would want to continue the stripes just like you see here. I would offer do the taping myself, after all the first coat of paint is done, but I'm only 5'2" so I need the hubby's help with the taping and measuring, which is key for this technique .

Just like I told Susan last year always "add your home grown Hydrangeas & you won't go wrong!" All images from Joni

More on stripes tomorrow!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Living With DAWGS!

A Dalmation enjoying his sofa!

Ellie, our two year old mix, and Rolle, our thirteen year old basset hound, are not really allowed on the furniture. Some of the reasoning behind this is not that the hubby and I are MEANIES, it's the fact that Rolle, who is coming up on his 14th birthday, does not jump! Actually, he gave up jumping five years ago while we were living in Charleston. What made matters worse then was when I would remove the rug by the bed for cleaning purposes. Having all hardwood floors, he had no traction!

Clovis the cute Bulldog enjoying his daddy's (Patrick Dunne) Louis XV chair.

After getting Ellie (not quite two years ago), we wanted to get off to a good start in the puppy training department. This after nine years of sharing a bed with a seventy five pound hound who snores louder then his dad, demanded his own pillow, and, if the hubby or I dared moved him an inch, or slightly threatened to scoot him over so we can have some space; defended his bed space with frightening growls! Trust me, this is not what one wants to hear in the middle of the night! After all, it was his bed, and he thought he was being generous by giving up half. So I decided not to go that route with Ellie, even though she is much sweeter and not nearly as hardheaded as the hound.

I've always loved this Westie! Shhh, don't tell Ellie & Rolle

That said, shortly after we got her, I would come home and find pillow feathers all over the floor with rips and tears on the pillowcases and sheets. I've only recently replaced most of them (see a Day at Target by me). Anyway, she has greatly, greatly improved; it could be the fact that she does not like our mattress--hmmm! She currently sleeps on the hubby's forty-five year old Peanuts blanket, that was handed down to her from her brother Rolle, who stays on the carpet in the man cave. But sometimes when our backs are turned, we do catch her on the sofa from time to time. One trick that the hubby and I have not tried is putting the small Dirt Devil on the sofa; this always worked like a charm with Rolle.

Hmm not quite sure of this breed?

After cleaning romper room all weekend with the Resolve, the hubby and I are going to invest in a steamer. Any suggestions?

Rolle the Basset Hound enjoying his stay at the Hermitage in Nashville.

All images of Southern DAWGS (except for this one above of Mr. Rolle) are from Southern Accents

Friday, September 11, 2009

Enjoying Victoria!

Every Christmas my buddy Cruella and I swap magazine gifts to each other; the gift that keeps on giving! Last year, she asked me for Victoria Magazine and I asked for my usually Southern Accents. Now that Southern Accents unfortunately is no more (I will truly miss them), I'm thinking perhaps Victoria! I'm really enjoying their English issue this month; gets me in the mood for fall! Happy Friday.... I'll be de-mauveing this weekend!

Don't you just love this image?

Wednesday, September 9, 2009


Image from Antiques At Home - One of my favorites!

This week, I've been pondering about personal collections. Having been in the antiques business, I've certainly sold a good many things to people who enjoyed collecting, as well as designing. In fact, I just recently sold an English egg cup to a lady who had been collecting them for years. While she was purchasing it, she told me her whole story on how she got started on collecting them. Some other things that I sold to collectors were porcelains, transferware plates & platters, paper mache, sugar shakers, enamel ware, old textiles, etc. Currently for me, I don't have a lot of collections, as one may think that I would, but I do have a few things that I love, bits of English and French copper pots, transferware, a little Staffordshire and Mulberry ware. The Mulberry ware always brings back memories of my road trip with my buddy Cruella to Brimfiled, MA.

Image from the epicurean collector - another favorite!

Another collection that I do have, and you may laugh, but it's true, are huge big monster Starbucks mugs. The story behind the mugs is this; when the hubby and I first graduated from school, like most, we got corporate jobs and started doing a lot of traveling; for fun and business. The one thing that we would do while strolling around the city is stop for our morning and afternoon java. So naturally, we would pick up the city Starbucks mug. We had mugs from San Franco, Vancouver, Las Vegas, Dallas, Miami,London, Hawaii, Victoria, Seattle, New York, Chicago........ Now over the course of many moves, and not having the proper space to put the mugs; I thought about pitching them! After all, they were not really worth anything. But the thing is, I never pitched them. In fact, everyday as I'm leaving for work, I head out with my huge monster Starbucks mug and everyone laughs at me! Not because of the mug but all the coffee that I'm consuming. I'm currently drinking out of Las Vegas!

also by Barbara Milo Ohrbach

I guess, no matter if you collect egg cups, strawberry forks, spoons, teapots, pickle jars, ducks, silver, sterling, trophy cups, dolls, porcelains, watches, textiles, maps, stuffed bears, lunch boxes, magnets ( hubby & I have a few), or even Starbucks mugs, for me, a collection has no requirements; expensive, elaborate, impressive, or useful, nor judged! Collections are built over time; they're about personal memories of journeys. But most importantly, collecting should be about enjoying and having fun through this thing called life! Don't you think?

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Who Likes Blue Willow?

Image from Victoria

For the last year and a half, I've been on a huge blue and white mission. This past spring, my buddy Cruella had me over for a little ladies lunch (basically a gourmet salad), and she served it on Blue Willow. She's aways been a big fan of Blue Willow, she said that she had bought her everyday ware several years ago. She also shared with me the history (from China to England) and the romantic love story behind it. During our lunch that day while sipping our coffee in Blue Willow cups and saucers, I expressed to Cruella that I would love to have a collection of it someday, even if it was just a few pieces to serve desert on or to mix with my All White Collection. Now, I do have different Staffordshire patterns in plates and platters; a few in blue, a couple in red, a beautiful pearl ware platter in brown (some of it I have hanging). So in all honestly, I need Blue Willow like a hole in the head... but hey!

Look at Julia's table! Blue Willow - I noticed it while taking in the movie and made a few purchases afterwards!

Now that I'm in the process of doing my breakfast room, I thought it would be nice to incorporate a little Blue Willow. Now I don't really have to hang the blue Willow - I just thought it would be a nice accent color with the golden yellow slipcovers that Youg Li already did!

Reintroduced it!
What do you collect?

Sunday, September 6, 2009

A Breakfast Room!

I have a breakfast room; it's the hubby and my first. It's located off our living room and galley-style kitchen, with a sun room off of it as well. And it also leads into the den (man cave). It's not incredibly big--a rectangle about 10 X 12, but big enough for an oval English table that I've been dragging around with us for just this very purpose. It's also where the Ellie and Rolle have their dinner since the kitchen is gallery style. On the weekends the hubby and I have breakfast in there as well. (Our dinner seems to be on our big glass coffee table watching a particular news channel-grrr).

I probably spoke too soon last week when I said there was nothing in the breakfast room to take a jack hammer to, because the floor is terracotta, which I don't really care for. But it has to stay for now. The good thing is the terracotta floor, does flow nicely from the galley kitchen to the sun room, so I guess it's not so bad for now.

I've been pondering a few things about our breakfast room. Today's pictures have to do with different elements that I want to incorporate. A few of the pictures are actually dining rooms. I don't seem to have a lot of pictures of small breakfast rooms, this house was built in the seventies so it's not the huge, open-floor plan concept.

Just came across the pictures above the other day and it sparked my memory of it! I absolutely love the Bordeaux Toile fabric on the wall by Lee Jofa, and I think those tones will work better for me! Love the wainscotting as well! I can't stop looking at this! Southern Accents January-February 2007.

Of course, one of my favorites! Same Bordeaux by Lee Jofa.

(Cote de Texas to investigate).

Absolutely love everything about this room - slipcovers, fabric, table, hydrangeas on the table, ironstone, french doors, sisal rug!

But here's the thing, Yung Li has already done my slip covers--the bottoms are done in a golden yellow linen. So I'm pondering, should I do the tops (chairs are shield backs), should I do blue willow (I've already bought a few piece of it)? Or should I do ironstone? Also, I have a sun room that I haven't really started on yet. Do you think I could incorporate the Bordeaux there?

My slips are this color but ohhh so much cuter! You'll see...if not you can tell me and you won't hurt my feelings; I promise. Oh, these chairs are Jeffrey Bilhuber from his Long Island home.

Tomorrow my love affair with Blue Willow and ironstone!

Friday, September 4, 2009

A Day At The Vineyard!

Hubby and I are spending the weekend at the vineyards--yea! The nice thing is that we don't have to hop on a plane to do so! Nope, were staying right here in north Georgia and zooming up Highway 400. This is a little something that we discovered upon our return to the ATL. We did tastings over Memorial day weekend and only had a chance to visit three of the nearby vineyards. However, there are several more up in that area.

One of the vineyards that we did visit was Frogtown Cellars. I simply felt like I was transported back to Napa & Sonoma Valleys. So Hubby and I are heading up this weekend to find a few vineyards that we missed last time.

The nice thing is that the Hubby just got a GPS from his parents for his birthday so we would not have to borrow theirs anymore. However, GERTRUDE, which was the name Hubby and I gave their GPS, stays with the in-laws. We need to name ours before we get her out this weekend! I told this to Gwen (from work) yesterday and she told me hers is named KATE. Which I like but I can't steal her name. Any suggestions?

Georgia Wineries--I highly recommend it! A nice way to spend the day and you don't have to leave the South!

Reporting from the South. Have a safe and happy Labor Day weekend!

Southern Inspirations

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Powder Room Wrap Up!

I absolutely love this powder room by Ann Colye
Why can't I have this?

After today, due to funding issues... don't you just hate how $$$ gets in your way sometimes...I'll shut up about my powder room dilemmas and put my focus on my breakfast room. After all, there's nothing to rip out and replace there (thank god), plus I've already gotten Yung Li started on my slipcovers! So today, I'll sign off with a a few WC's that I've always liked. And once the funding is available, here's what I have in mind:

Image from Mrs. Howard

Wallpaper - Yes, I would love to wallpaper the WC. I always like wallpaper in small spaces, and the nice thing is that you don't need much of it, making it easier on the wallet! On a small side note here, when the hubby and I stayed at his parents compound for a few short months, I chose the downstairs guest room because the bathroom was wallpapered in a very pretty blue chinoiserie bird pattern. My mother-in-law kept saying, "take the hubby's old bedroom; you'll be more comfortable, and it has more space". She was right, it did have more space, but I would not be more comfortable, because I wanted the pretty downstairs wallpapered bathroom. Plus, we were not staying long! So during our stint there I felt like I was at a B&B, and not in Hubby's young teenage room which now is occupied by a huge, old, creepy-looking doll that looks like Chuckie. My point here is my mother-in-law originally did that house twenty five years ago and a few years ago when she was yanking down wallpaper here and there--ducks from Hubby's old bathroom, dated floral patterns in the kitchen etc...I told her (not that she really asked me) not to yank the downstairs bathroom wallpaper. Can't go wrong with true classics. I only wish I could do a chinoiserie but I have a few from Farrow & Ball in mind.

The wallpaper is by Farrow & Ball "Ranelagh" I love the yellow!
I'm thinking I may do St .Antoine in the yellow family - I've wanted to use that paper for years!

Photo from Domino - Drew Berrymore's bathroom

Pedestal sink - Would prefer, but if not I will definitely do carera marble on a vanity. Wish I had my old French commode that I sold a few years ago--pity!

Image from Mrs.Howard

antique mirror--I'll find one or I'll use one I already have.
antique sconces-No problem buddy Cruella is stocked in this department. She'll set me up!

That's a wrap! I really want WC # 1! Whatcha think?

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

More On My Powder Room Dilemma!

Returning back to my powder room dilemma--errrr! You now know I can skip the fancy waste baskets and make do with something that I currently have, even if I have to use the hubby's LSU purple and gold trash can! But one thing is for sure, I can't skip out on the soap. And as I was complaining earlier, my powder room is so god-awful ugly that I have not even been inspired to buy soap! But I'm, afraid I'm forced to, I have guests coming soon!

Apiana Gardner's Soap

A few weeks ago, I was out shopping for a few home accessories, trying to figure out what tricks I could pull out of my hat to do something with my blasted powder room. While out, I did come across these wonderful simple bee hand soaps that I absolutely love! The nice thing is, I don't think guests will be scared to use them like the cute Scottish dogs or, say, the Robin eggs that we've all seen around. So I've already bought a few (not to use bee soaps) for my own personal bathroom just to look at as I'm blow drying my hair. I know, I'm weird! I also bought a few for my friend, Jill for her b-day, along with a white-tip napkin. I knew she would appreciate them; she's in the bazaar design trade as well! And as we all learn, it's the small things in life. Also, I'm thinking ahead here, and can put a few in clear little cellophane bags with ribbons for small, simple hostess gifts! What can I say? I love them!

Apiana Honey Soap

And just in case you're wondering, hubby and I have not gone the entire three months in the powder room without soap. Hubby took the liberty, after he noticed I wasn't buying any soap, and bought some liquid soap from Publix, which was very nice of him--indeed A-plus! Later, Ill clue him in on labels in the WC.

Speaking of liquid, this has me puzzled .... do you think guest prefer liquid or hand soap?