Wednesday, June 29, 2016

White Magnolias - Real and Paper


In January, when I was at the Atlanta Gift Show, I met a fascinating artist named Balushaka.  She does paper floral artistry and her booth was amazing.  At the end of the show, she gave me a gift of one of her large paper magnolias.  I carried it home so gingerly and have stored it so carefully, just waiting for the magnolias that the South is so famous for to appear on the beautiful trees.  Finally, the time is right, and my friend, Charlotte, let me cut some flowers and some leaves for this table for two.

Here's Balushaka's signature on this piece.

And here's the way the table looked.  The lighting was so bad, but I had to shoot before the magnolias went bad.  The gorgeous foliage lasts and lasts, but those flowers are prima donnas that don't like to be cut.  I had to fiddle with the exposure on many of these pictures, so they aren't very good quality.

But, as you can see, it WAS a beautiful night.

Here's the placesetting with a fresh magnolia.  Aren't they beautiful?  And they smell so good.

I chose a plain white scalloped dinner plate and a green and white napkin.  The flowers on them are actually hydrangeas, but they had the right feel for the table.

I put the glassware on the railing to photograph them better.  The green stem is from the Dollar Store, and the clear stem is made by Juliska.  I love high/low combinations.

I sat the plain white serving pieces on an flat antique basket.  It gave the table some interesting texture and a beautiful natural color that brought out the brown underside of the magnolia leaves.

I used a small pottery plate as a bread and butter plate.   

Balushka also gave me a small paper camilla that I placed on the table with a little fresh magnolia leaf.  This looks just like a Chanel flower, right?

I even added a real flower pod with the foliage.  Isn't it pretty?

These old wooden candlesticks and brown Root candles also reflected the brown underside of the leaves.

Isn't this magnificent?

To make it a little more comfortable to linger with wine, then coffee, I brought a couple of grain sack fabric pillows outside.



I must find another use for this beauty.  I feel so lucky to have it.  

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Take a look at this commercial installation that she did!  These are all handmade out of paper!  Really!

She'll do custom for your special events, or decor.

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Check her out at Balushka.com and see more of her company.  It's headquartered in Houston and she has inventory available for rent.  You will be blown away.

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Sunday, June 12, 2016

Heavenly Hydrangeas!


It certainly is time to break out these dishes!  Why???

Because this is what my hydrangea bushes look like.  This one is on the lower terrace, but the ones in the cutting garden look just this glorious.  

So I set a table just in front of this beauty for dinner with Mr. Pressed Pants.

It was a lovely evening and I kept the dinner and the table very simple.

Even with that beautiful hydrangea bush I still wanted to add some of these incredible blooms to the table.

The dinner plates are by Nature's Home and the pattern is Hailey Sky.

This blue handled flatware is so old, I can't remember where it came from.  The woven chargers and napkin rings are from World Market, but you can find them many places.  

These large blue stems are also old. 

I used these Emile Henry butter dishes from William-Sonoma as salt and pepper dishes.  These are the only serving pieces I added.

As the night deepened, we saw the season's first fire flies. 

Here's the view from the upper terrace.  The deer have had a buffet in that flower bed, but thankfully, they have left the hydrangeas alone! 

Here's the secret to droop-proof blooms:  Alum.  Yep, the stuff you use for canning and can find in the spice aisle of almost every grocery store.  Go to the garden in the morning, and take a bucket of water.  Then just as you cut the stem, dunk it about an inch in water and then into the jar of alum.  The alum will clump around the stem.  Wait just a couple of seconds and then put it into the water bucket.  If you re-cut to arrange the stems, do this again. 

Here's what to look for.

You'll have firm, beautiful blooms that will last and last and last.  I hope your hydrangea bushes are as prolific as mine are this year.  The last two years were very disappointing.  Now, I hope that they keep on blooming all summer.  I just can't get enough of them.


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Sunday, June 5, 2016

Coral and Grey Luncheon

It seems that our "spring clean-up" stretched from March all the way to June this year, so our most of our entertaining had been postponed.  But today, we welcomed some friends for lunch on the deck.  The chores around the house are not finished, but we are closing in on the end of the list.  This coral and grey combination seemed like a fresh, interesting choice for the afternoon table.  

Check out the newly painted deck  railing and freshly stained decking!

This fun, graphic cotton tablecloth is a new purchase from Boxwoods in Atlanta.  I really was there to buy a gift, I promise!  But since when have I EVER left there empty-handed?  I actually did leave empty-handed, walked to my car and directly came back for it!

Last night, I took these roses for the centerpiece at a table at an outdoor concert.  For that, they were packed into a white cache-pot with the stems cut short.  Aren't they great?

This morning, I put them into these old French seed pots, since they were already cut short.  They are more vibrant than the tablecloth, but I do like the blend.

This resin urn served as the centerpiece.  It was a gift from a lovely houseguest, and I just love it. It came from a showroom called Antiques as Art, at the Atlanta gift mart at Americasmart.

It totally looks like carved granite.  This detail is amazing.

Since we were outdoors, and the meal was very simple, I used this smoke-colored plastic twig flatware.  Trust me.....it is a big step-up from the generic plastic utensils.

I love the way it picked up the color of the tablecloth.  I used these faux-zinc chargers that I posted about here with our everyday white dinner plates.   

Here's the box from the flatware.  It is made by Michael Aram, who usually designs very sophisticated silver, gold, and pewter accessories.  This is from Boxwoods, as well.

The cream linen napkin is held by a chicken wire napkin ring, which I chose mainly for the color.

The glassware is sleek, but interesting.  The stem is from Tiffany's and the grey and white marbled goblet is from Boxwoods.  I bought four of them, but I'm headed back to see if they have more.  I just love them.  I don't know who makes them, there is just a "B" on the bottom and "made in Indonesia".  Believe it our not, I didn't plan on these working with this tablecloth, even though I bought them only a few days apart.  When I was finally unloading my car, I had the bright idea to look at them together.  Perfect! 

These individual salt and pepper shakers seemed to suit the table in color and size.  I've had them forever.

I used these orange salad plates for dessert. When I bought them for a wedding shower, I never guessed how often I would use them.

There was not a lot of room, but I plated in the kitchen.

It was so good to welcome friends to our home.  They loved the table.

It was a lovely day and pretty warm, but not too, too hot yet. 

And we appreciated taking the time out to enjoy this view and tell tales.

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