Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Holiday Tabletop by B.D. Jeffries

Since I enjoy looking for creative ideas for holiday decorating, I always look forward to the December issues of my magazines.  This year, I was most impressed with this tabletop design by B.D. Jeffries featured in Atlanta Homes.  This rustic and elegant design is a perfect combination for  my holiday decorating.

This red ribbon on this beautiful mercury pedestal bowl adds just the right touch of color.

These twig trees are fabulous - I might have to find some of these.

The Faux Bois dinnerware  is by Kon-tent.

The glassware has a beautiful shape and the etching adds interest.

If I stacked all of my December magazine issues I have saved over the years for inspiration, it would probably be about three feet high.    While I receive the Veranda and House Beautiful issues online, I still get the hard copy so this pile continues to grow.   Do you have a pile of holiday issues of magazines that you find you can't part with?   

While I have about seven crates of holiday decorations, I now prefer a much more natural look and mostly decorate with fresh greens.  Since our girls are older now and I am not decorating with small children in mind, I prefer "less is more".   I look forward to picking up some greens at the local flower markets this weekend, and start my holiday decorating. 

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Setting Your Table for the Holidays

 I don't know about the rest of you, but I get bored seeing the same look in a room year after year. Now, my daughters and husband said this should read "day after day", but that is just not true.  My husband, who clearly doesn't know much about color, would tell you I repaint rooms every six months in the same color.  Clearly, an exaggeration!   Every once in a great while, after I paint a room I find that the color is slightly off by a shade.   After about six months, I paint it again, and it looks so.... much better.    I think you get the picture, everyone in my family exaggerates but me.

For example, this dining room was accessorized with blue and white transferware since we moved into this house almost nine years ago.  So, you can see I am right by saying "YEAR after YEAR".  Since I enjoy accessorizing, I  decided this room needed a change. About four weeks ago, I  removed all my antique blue and white transferware  and replaced it with cream pottery. Not only is cream a more calming color, it is also much more relaxing to live with as if I break a plate, I am not breaking the bank. And, by the way, you will notice I did paint the room.  The paint color was Benjamin Moore's Powell Buff, and I changed it to Fairway Oaks.  While I was setting the table for Thanksgiving dinner, I thought this would be a good time to share the room with its new look.

New color, Fairway Oaks (Benjamin Moore #1075)

Old color, Powell Buff (Benjamin Moore #HC35)

As you can see, the top color has more brown tones and the bottom color has more yellow.   My husband would tell you that I repainted the room the same color, but I know you can see the difference.    The new color also looks better with my curtain fabric.

As you have probably noticed, most of the rooms in my house are furnished in neutrals with an accent of orange.  If someone would have told me ten years ago that I would be decorating with orange, I would have NEVER believed them.   However, I now find cream, chocolate brown, and orange are my favorite colors together.  The neutrals are calming and the orange is refreshing - a perfect combination.  

This is a 19th Century English dresser we purchased in Maine about twenty years ago.  We thought we knew a lot about antiques back then, and we had purchased this piece from a very reputable dealer.  Months later, on closer examination, we discovered that this piece was a marriage.  The plate holder rack and the base were not originally together.  While this was disappointing and frustratating, we liked the piece too much to part with it.

English dressers offer lots of opportunity to display collections.  As you can see, I have displayed a variety of items here.  I chose the cream Queen's Ware plates by Wedgewood as the scalloped edge adds some interest.  Cream accessories also provide you with an opportunity to accent with any color.  This works well for me as I get bored with rooms looking the same all the time.

 As you can see in this photo above, on the left is an antique English jug filled with eucalyptus branches.  The silver blue color of the pods blends nicely with the blue and beige toile curtains. The curtain fabric is by GP & J Baker of London.  I purchased the round covered pot to the right of the jug from Heidi Ciofani at a craft fair in Ann Arbor several years ago.  I love her leaf patterns and the oxidized glaze.  The sheep on the top right is a master mold from the early 1900's.  While living in England, I often went on country walks with our girls.  There were always roaming sheep in many of the fields, and these sheep bring back these fond memories of those beautiful country walks.

I picked up the small black/brown/cream plaid throw at an antique shop in western Michigan a month ago.  The Windsor chair in the corner was too stiff and the room would look better with an upholstered chair here.  Therefore, I added the plaid throw to give a softer appearance.  I purchased this willow wreath with the milkweed branch and birds from Detroit Garden Works last week. 

On the other side of the dresser is an alabaster vase filled with pheasant feathers.  The antique rustic jug, on the top right is from Turkey and the oil burner on the top left is another piece of pottery made by Heidi Ciofani.

You will notice the trumeau mirror that I blogged about earlier in the year displayed here in the dining room.  While this is not a good place to display it, my only other alternative was our daughter's closet.  Since I enjoy seeing it, I have decided to display it here until we move, and I am able to find a more appropriate place for it in our next home.

For the tablecloth, I purchased some good quality burlap from a local store called Haberman's  I used a rotary cutter to cut it to the size I needed, and I fringed the ends by pulling the threads.

As I have mentioned before, I love how the previous owner installed beautiful mirrored French doors which reflect the light and the room's furnishings.   Like many others, I really love hotel silver as it has clean simple lines and a more casual feel than silver.    I used a small oval tureen for my paperwhite bulbs which worked well with my narrow French farm table. While I love the look of this table, it is very limiting when it comes to centerpieces and serving food.  Since the table is long, I added two small coffee pots for some color and interest.  The terra cotta tapers are from Creative Candles.

While many people like patterned china and different colored glassware, I can't seem to get away from my classic cream plates and hand blown glasses.  For this setting, I used Edme plates by Wedgewood.   The wine and water glasses are Heartland by Simon Pearce.   While Simon Pearce glass is rather expensive, the Simon Pearce stores sell seconds at a reduced price. Once or twice a year they mark these down 60% off the original price, which makes them much more affordable.  The  cotton "chili' napkins are from Crate and Barrel and the silver is Chantilly by Gorham.  I used my collection of different antique silver plated napkin rings for the napkins.  The turkey feathers and the artichokes are additional accents.  

Since I was tired of making trips to the store, as I am sure you can all relate, I decided to search in my backyard for some greens for the small hotel silver coffee pots.  I gathered some deep orange rose hips and boxwood, and then I decided to add a few small feathers.  This small arrangement seemed to work just perfectly for the casual look I was trying to achieve.

Now that I am finally done with this post, I am going to spend the rest of this long weekend with our three daughters who are visiting from out of town.  Two are in college and one lives in New York City.  Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday as it is relaxing and provides four days to spend with all of our girls. Since they live in different cities with busy lives, we cherish our time together.

I wish you all a wonderful Thanksgiving.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Simple Effortless Arrangements Are My Favorite

Since I enjoy displaying fresh flowers in our home, I often stop by our local flower/vegetable market on Saturdays.  Yesterday, I picked up a bunch of Eucalyptus at the Pontiac market.  Because there was a small flower selection, I decided to try the Royal Oak market which is where I purchased these beautiful   cabbage roses. 

 When I came home and combined them, I was so surprised to see how beautiful they looked together.
 Local markets are wonderful, because you are supporting your community vendors, prices are very reasonable, and everything is fresh.  The big bunch of Eucalyptus cost only $10 and the Cabbage Roses were $5.  I put together this arrangement for just $15.

My new French flower bucket, purchased recently at the Ann Arbor -Saline Market was the perfect vessel for this arrangement.

 I prefer using either just one kind of flower in the same color, a monochromatic arrangement or a combination of two colors.

Whether it is putting together a flower arrangement, decorating our home or the clothes I wear, I don't like mixing a lot of colors.  Almost everything is solid or a very simple pattern.  It just feels more tranquil to me.  While some people like to display pansies mixed in every color, which one of my friend describes as "tutti fruitti",  I would opt for all one color.  I am a big fan of hostas as they come in a variety of shades of green.  And to be truthful, how easy could it be to use all one flower or combine just two as I did in this arrangement.

 There were many simple, beautiful flower arrangements in the current issue of my favorite magazine, Veranda.  All of these arrangements are beautiful, make a big impact, and best of all are effortless to arrange. 











So what do you prefer?  Do you like to keep your arrangements simple and easy?  Or, do you favor combining a variety of colors?

Friday, November 18, 2011

Holiday Inspirations from Detroit Garden Works

When I’m searching for inspiration for my holiday decor, I am so fortunate to have Detroit Garden Works nearby.  You can see why Garden Design Magazine named Detroit Garden Works one of the top 25 garden stores in the country, and why they were recently featured in Martha Stewart Living magazine.This shop has so many fabulous unusual items for the garden and home, many imported from Europe.   Deb Silver, founder, and Rob Yedinak, manager, are both extremely talented in not only selecting magnificent merchandise, but  also have the talent to create some of the most breathtaking unique displays.  

Detroit Garden Works has a web site , and they ship anywhere.  In addition, Deb has a very informative blog, Dirt Simple,  where she shares her extensive knowledge and creative ideas.  

If I had a place in our home for this old doorway, it definitely would have gone home with me.

Isn't this dog adorable? 

Rob created this tree with old branches he found.  I would have liked trying this in our home for a Christmas tree this year, but we have 9' ceilings and this really lends itself to a room with high ceilings.

Look at all of the milkweed displayed so beautifully in the urn above and how it catches the light.    

How sweet are these little knit birds?

Here is one of those adorable little birds perched on the window frame.

In addition to Detroit Garden Works and Deb's landscaping & design business, she also founded a company called Branch.  The dog sculptures above were designed and fabricated by this company.  They also manufacture garden pots and planters, furniture,  and sculptures.  You can visit the Branch website here

This was one of my purchases today.  I just couldn't resist this charming willow wreath with its milkweed branch that reminds me of my younger days when we used to play with these pods.

The image above and below are from Deb's blog, Dirt Simple.   You will see DGW and its ambience as it is photographed in the evening;  exhibiting, once again, the many talents of Deb, Rob and the staff at Detroit Garden Works.   

 You will learn how Rob created this “pot of fire” using white light strings, "tree of heaven" branches and some dried weed.  Rob has the skills to take some of the simplest ordinary items and turn them into something so unusual and extraordinary.   

It is no surprise that Detroit Garden Works has received the recognition it has from Garden Design Magazine and Martha Stewart Living.  Wouldn't you agree?  I am so fortunate to have this wonderful shop nearby.