Thursday, May 24, 2012

Indy 500



It's official!!!


It's Indy 500 weekend!!!

After living in Indy for four years, I accumulated a lot of 500 decorations, so I'll be using them this weekend for dinner with our neighbors.  

All of the dishes, except the coffee mugs are from my regular "stash", but there are a few race themed details I've added to make it fun.

Starting with banners on the deck railing......

and adding some checkered flags......

I set the table on the round white deck.

I'll add a few simple flowers in tubes to this simple centerpiece.  It's just a spray of race flags and a plastic child's helmet.

A white charger, black banded plate and red bowl really show up on the checked tablecloth.  So does the red handled flatware.

A simple black linen napkin is simply topped with a badge that I kept from some corporate entertaining we attended.  That was such a surprise when we moved there.  The entire month of May is spent going to parties and corporate events at the track.  And for everything......you wear black and white.  It's not just for race day, folks!  It's Carburation Day, Pit Crew Competitions, Black and White Ball, and the parade just to name a few.  

The mugs were favors from something, I'm sure, and the stemware is etched and painted with black diamonds.

This is just a simple place card and I put a small toy race car beside it.

Our guests are simple eaters, so the menu is going to be easy and uncomplicated.  

Here's where we'll be lingering after the race.

 Festive, but not at all fancy.

This will greet them as they come up the driveway.

I have about a dozen small flags......

so I lined the walkway to the front door.

And on the door itself, I simply threaded two flags with the Indianapolis Motor Speedway logo through the iron ring.

Welcome, race fans!!!!!

Who will be drinking milk in Victory Lane???

Here's the menu I have planned:

"Pit Crew" peanuts (hot boiled)
"Newgarden" nacho dip

"Gas Tank" gazpacho

"Franchetti" flank steak
"Rahal" rice salad
"Andretti" asparagus
"Penske" pita bread

"Left Turn" Torte
"Carborator" Coffee

Joining:

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Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Neiman Marcus or Target???

Neiman Marcus?
Or Target?

Neiman's in Atlanta has on display this wonderful toile pattern dinnerware made my Juliska.  Here's how they describe it:  "quintessentially British stoneware pattern joyfully depicts the narrative of English Country life in a way that is both engaging and timeless".   That's exactly what I was going to say!

The different pieces depict the lovely "Main House" on the dinner plates, the "Conservatory" on the dessert plates, the tranquil "Boathouse" on the pasta bowls, and here you see the "Kite Fliers" in this serving bowl.

The color of the design is called Flint, but it can read as grey, brown, or aubergine.  I love it here with this dusty turquoise.  I've admired it for quite a while, but at $180 for four plates, etc., I've wondered if it is versatile enough to invest in.....especially since I know I would want all of those yummy serving pieces.

THEN.......I saw these plates at Target!!!!  Bingo!!!! Here's my (very) low cost alternative.  I grant you that this is not nearly as fine or beatuiful, and it has no serving pieces, but these plates will certainly give me the basic feel and will be very fun to work with. And they are melamine. Sorry there is such a glare on this photo.

They are called "Toile de Privet" and are from the Privet House designs that Target has introduced in their stores recently.  They are shown on the end-caps of the tableware department with some very cool orange and lime green designs with great graphics like wicker cane.  This Delft-like style is on a cream background with a color that can be interpreted as brown or aubergine, and the back is this great emerald green.  I show it here on a purple(ish) tablecloth that I also found at  Target. 

 I can promise you that you'll be seeing it soon in the garden.  I'm not regretting my decision to pass on the Juliska and "go Target".  It was the right thing to do.  After all, there were lots of other things that called my name at Neimans!

Joining:

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Saturday, May 19, 2012

Apple Blossom Breakfast

While scrolling through some drafts, I found this one that I prepared, but I never posted.  Since it's still spring, would you like to see it?

We have two apple trees out in the paddock area on the far side of the garden fence.  I can't tell you what kind of apples they bear, because the (dang) deer eat them before they are ripe.  Even the ones up high!  How does that happen?  Do they stand on each others' shoulders?  Anyway, the apple blossoms are the inspiration for this table.

We had a late, but lovely weekend breakfast on the terrace.  It's still a bit chilly in the a.m., but we're just dying to start dining outdoors.

I set the table starting with an old white Battenberg lace tablecloth. I discovered some stains on this that I've treated and I hope that they come out.  Then I chose Fire King jadite bowls, egg cups, and serving pieces. I don't know if the hobnail glasses are reproductions or not, and I can't remember where I got them.  The plate and cup are Pagnossin, from Italy.  I can't read any more of the stamp on the back. 

The centerpiece is a simple Ball jar with apple blossoms in it.  I do like these jars and I understand why they are so popular, but I will admit that every time I see one, I am reminded of one of the descendants of the Ball fortune that I knew and she was MEAN!!!!  Makes me appreciate them just a little less! 

Last spring, I bought these apple blossom napkin rings at Pottery Barn and this is the first time I have ever used them.

Don't they look pretty with this pink linen napkin and the pink flatware?

These egg cups must have been made for ostrich eggs!!!  This is an extra-large egg in here and it is dwarfed!  I like to use these demi-tasse spoons with soft boiled eggs.

The salt and pepper are over-sized, too, but, of course, I'm using them. 

I put the cream and sugar on the the table, but since we drink our coffee black and use Splenda on our cereal, I never even filled them.

But, it was a nice start to the weekend.  Even though we had an easy, warm winter, these early spring days are so precious.  Soon the pollen will be so bad that we stay in and then the heat comes, so we sat and sat and sat and read the paper and checked our email and talked.  It was not a fancy breakfast, but a special one.

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Friday, May 18, 2012

Shrimp Vinaigrette

We had our wine group here last week and you can see a post of that here.  A couple of people emailed me asking for the recipe for this shrimp dish, and I'm happy to share.  It's a recipe I've had for years and years.  I remember so clearly in 1982 when Martha Stewart's first book came out called "Entertaining".  She was the first one out there who showed us how to throw a party or a dinner and make it the entire hospitality experience.  This has been a favorite in my repertoire ever since.  It's been served at graduations, engagement parties, house warmings, birthday parties, wedding showers, baby showers, and even funerals.  It's easy and can be done ahead and always well received.

Shrimp vinaigrette
 From: Martha Stewart (Entertaining)

Shrimp:
            1 bay leaf
            1# shrimp (28/30)
            Vinegar – splash
           
            Add bay and vinegar, or just old bay seasoning to water
            And bring to a boil.  Add shrimp and cook just until pink
            2-3 min., drain, put in cold water, drain again.

Vinaigrette:
            ½ c. olive oil
            3 T. white wine vinegar
            1 T. chopped shallots
            1 tsp. finely minced ginger
            1 clove garlic, minced
            1 T. chopped dill
            s/p

Pour over shrimp and refrigerate for 1-2 days.


Option: wrap in split snow peas with toothpick


I'm going to repeat my method for serving this on a buffet that sits out for several hours:


First, I take a large, shallow bowl and fill it with crushed ice.

Then, hydrangea leaves hide the edge and give a look of freshness.

I sit the bowl of shrimp onto this and offer it with toothpicks.  Each shrimp can be wrapped in a split, blanched pea pod and held with a toothpick. I've done this and poked them into a leaf-wrapped styrofoam cone, but, after all of the extra work, I noticed to my dismay, that the cocktail plates had lots of discarded pea pods.  Never doing that again!
Enjoy!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Blue and White Chinoiserie

If you're like me, you LOVE blue and white Chinoiserie, and this willow pattern is the most iconic of all.  This is a close-up of  Lee Jofa's beautiful printed grass cloth. 

And this is an entire room in their showroom papered in it.  Perfection!  Look how their choice of contemporary fabrics and accessories make the perfect blend of classic and modern. I'm so in love with this look. 

See how their choice of pure white porcelain makes such a statement against all of this pattern.  And the major pieces of furniture are also solid, but interesting. 

Artwork is tricky on this much pattern.  They have chosen a rather plain framed mirror and a starburst, rather than oils or watercolors.  

Here are the choices of colorways the grasscloth comes in.

And check out these fabric choices.  The pink and white is sooooo pretty. The design is taken from a Chinese porcelain export plate in the Peabody Essex Museum in Massachusetts.  It was first introduced in 1974. 

If you are looking for more Chinoiserie, Lee Jofa has an entire wall of it in the showroom.

Here's another one of my favorites: Nirvana Shadow.  It has a more contemporary Asian twist with it's bright monochromatic background colors.

And here's another one I love.  I was actually looking to use this for a client in the green colorway, but guess what?

I hate it when that happens!!!!

I also found a new wallpaper design that I'm suggesting that a client use in their back entryway.  It is called "Porcelain" by Baker Lifestyle.  It comes in matching fabric, too.

This is part of the Opera Garden Collection that is all so cute.  Which is your favorite?

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