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Thursday, July 20, 2017

Horse Lovers Come to Dinner

There's an adorable couple that we've been wanting to have to dinner, and last weekend we finally had them over.  They are horse lovers, so I dug into my stash of equine decorations and put together this table.  I'll admit that it was very hard for me to use these colors in summer.  They just say fall to me!  I guess I am very seasonally inspired.

But, I pulled out these Ralph Lauren linens and started with a rustic look.

I remember that when I saw these chargers at Pier One, I hesitated forever.  I have so many chargers and many of them are wooden.  Did I need any more?  No.  But, of course, I bought them.  And I love them.  The dinner plate and dessert plate are from ZGallerie. 

This flatware is some I use so often.  I played around with a light wood handle instead, but decided on this dark wood. 

 I was so happy to use these pieces.  I made the napkins from Ralph Lauren yardage years ago, and the rings are made by Rebecca Ray designs.

Don't you love the detail on this copy of an antique rosette.  Each of them has a different horse featured.

This glassware is some I use over and over.

My favorite stationery company, Seven Barks, makes these coasters with similar images to the napkin rings.  How cool are they?  

They also make these letterpress placecards with a snaffle bit design.  This image and many other great ones come on note cards, too.  They have a whole line of equestrian designs.  Check them out here.

We have a great nursery close by with a beautiful gift shop.  I found these stirrup candlesticks there last week. 

These faux bois salt and pepper shakers seemed to fit the bill.

I often use two, or even three runners in place of a tablecloth, especially if I am making them.  It is super easy to just cut and hem.

The colors of these flowers lift the feeling of the table, but still complement the colors.  Roses and alstromeria work together so well.  These are arranged on a wooden round and toped with a horse head.

These colors spoke to me!

This horse head is actually one side of a pair of bookends.  I just wrapped the base in a bit of plastic wrap and sat it on top of the brick of oasis floral foam that I used for the flowers.

I love a table for four!

Here's what greeted them at the front door.  I change out the wreath so often and I have a lot of them, but none of the seemed right for this evening, so I used the horse shoe.  It gave our guests a hint about the evening.


Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Holiday Picnic

We had a group of friends here for an early Fourth of July party.  Everyone brought a dish and  we had such a good time.  This is what greeted everyone at the end of our driveway.  I've started putting any gate decorations on with zip ties, as some have been stolen.  Grrrrr.

I tied this little tag on the front door so no one would have to keep an ear out for the doorbell.  I think it also set the tone that this is a casual event.

The color is awful on this photo, but this is the dining room table.  We ate outside, but served buffet style from the dining room.

This was earlier in the day before I put the centerpieces out.  I cut lots of hydrangeas from the cutting garden and the rest came from Kroger.  Super simple.  I learned the hard way to wait until the evening to take these outside, as the afternoon sun will wilt them, sure as can be.

Also on the dining room table, I placed a stack of plates and sets of flatware tied with twine.  Yes, I have 20 melamine red, whit and blue plates, napkins, and flatware, but the mix is the key.

When everyone brings a dish, you never know what serving pieces will be necessary, so I always try to put some out.  It saves digging while everyone is waiting to eat.

Also in the dining room, I placed a bowl and hurricanes with shells and sand.

We set up a drink station in the bar.  This jug has cucumber, lemon and mint water and it was very popular.  The big copper container is filled with ice to nestle beer and wine.

Sweet and unsweet tea is a must in the south.

This runner is from Ikea and the festive napkins came from Party City.

It was meant to be a self-serve station, and for the most part, it was.

Outside on the round white deck, we put two tables.

The long one had our wooden chairs from inside, so that if the rain returned, it would just take a second to get them inside.

The outdoor lines were a mix, too.  Who needs a bunch of all one thing? 

Checks are always picnic appropriate, and blue and white pots go with just about anything.

On the upper terrace, around the pool, we served all of the appetizers.  We were all so glad to be outside and we were grateful for the lovely weather.  I used the chairs from this table down below, so people sat on the stone wall.  It is the perfect height.  If I ever re-do an outside area, I'll be sure to remember that.

The lower terrace held ten more seats.

Do you love our new chairs?  Target!!!!!

And an old quilt top covers this table for six.

Inside in the breakfast room I set the table for dessert.  One bachelor brought home made ice cream and it was such a hit!

Here's my appetizer before I took it outside.  It's a  clam dip with chips and veggies.  I've never served chip and dip when it wasn't devoured.  Sometime the old standards are really appreciated.

It was a fun warm up for the Fourth!


Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Rain on the Fourth

When we dumped the trip to see fireworks tonight due to the rain, that meant that we'd be unexpectedly eating inside at home. 

I can always lay my hands on red white and blue and set a fast table.

I grabbed my "Toile Tale" china which is Scalamandre by Lenox.  I set it on a blue rimmed white enamel charger that I just bought at Michael's.  Don't ask me why, but they were in the wedding section. 

As a nod to summer, I used a nautical rope napkin ring around a plain red napkin.  The red and white gingham checked tablecloth is another thing that says summer.  This blue handled flatware is another easy choice.

I would have cut some blue hydrangeas, but it was raining!  I had picked up a bunch of sunflowers on Saturday at the Farmer's Market, so they became the centerpiece. 

The glassware is a mixture of blue and red stems.  Some people do not like colored glass, but I think it adds so much to most tables.  There's a time for a formal cut glass, or a fine blown glass, but this is just a fun, casual table.

These individual salt and pepper shakers are a simple but fun addition. 

This blue and white dish will hold a caprese salad.  It is so easy to mix up a red, white and blue table.  Almost any blue and white pattern will work with another.  Be bold and jump on the blue and white wagon.  These pieces are easy to find and usually very economical.

We'll miss the fireworks, but frankly, our neighbors have been shooting them off for days, so we've had a taste of this beautiful tradition.  Let us all celebrate this great country with great pride and gratitude. 


Saturday, July 1, 2017

Hello Hydrangeas!

I looked at my hydrangeas in the cutting garden and I knew I had to cut a big bunch to take inside.  While cutting, I decided that they were too good to keep to myself, so I offered a bite of breakfast the next morning before a couple of us took off on a short road trip.  Two girls came, and one opted to sleep in a bit.

This deck seemed like the right choice, as it is not very far to carry things back to the kitchen, and I knew we would be leaving in a hurry.

These plates are called Hailey's Sky by Nature's Home.  They lend themselves to casual, or a little bit formal.  They are not fragile or precious, but they sure are fun.

Here's the star of the show.  I love all colors of hydrangeas, but this color might just be my favorite.  I don't know what variety they are, as I transplanted them when we moved here.

These juice glasses are so old that I can't remember where they came from.

This sliver plate is quite special to me.  It was my mother's and when she went to a personal care facility and we shared her beautiful things, I chose this because it was a part of so many of our special times around her lovely table.

And these napkins were a gift from her as well.  They are so beautiful that they are actually a pleasure to iron!!!!!  I can't say that about to many things!

This was a piece we brought home from France.  It takes up less room on the table than a water pitcher.

This milk bottle came from World Market.

These bread plates came from France, too.  And the fruit knives are Delft from Holland.

Here's the back side of the bread plates.

A bit of cherry jelly for our croissants.

The baby geese were out on the lake, but I didn't catch a photo of them.

Some summers these bloom all season long, and sometimes they bloom profusely in early summer and then they are done.  That's why I grab my scissors and make sure I can enjoy them as much as possible.  My landscapers cut my hydrangeas back on the lower terrace, so they have only given us a very few blooms, but the cutting garden plants aren't so stingy!


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