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Friday, January 20, 2012

America's Mart 2012

One of the largest gift shows has just wrapped up in Atlanta at America's Mart.  It happens twice a year and sets up thousands of temporary booths in addition to all of the permanent show rooms.  Many of the bloggers have taken us on a tour of the show and featured their favorite showrooms.  I've decided to feature what I feel was the most creative temporary booth that I found in the High Design area.

Hign Design is a juried area that features what the show producers feel is the best and most unusual exhibitors.  Here's a look at the booth of Rebecca Ray Designs and this is Rebecca here in the red skirt.  Not only was the booth beautiful and welcoming, but the product was incredible.  Classy, unique and exceptional quality!!!  Lets tour..........

Photographs of the wares are generally prohibited at the show, but I asked nicely and got permission to show you these images.  Keep in mind that this is a temporary booth and it must be shipped out in five days.  However, they have managed to make it look like you have stepped into a beautiful den or tack room.  Look at the way this fireplace wall lends warmth to the display!  Even the fresh flowers were special.  These gorgeous orange roses picked up the colors in the booth and there were even real blackberry canes in the arrangements.

This is the back wall, complete with shelves and window seat.  Look at the vintage image that represents their philosophy.  Their merchandise features the American lifestyle, especially the sporting world.  Dogs and horses predominate in their images, but fishing and farming are often seen.  Custom images can be used and you can often find an image of "your" dog or horse to make your product even more special.

There were two mannequins in the booth, each creatively outfitted with their merchandise combined with clever ephemera.

This one has a skirt of award ribbons from horse shows....

and broaches centered with their rosettes with a gift tag from the stationery line.

Her hat and veil sit upon a fresh flower arrangement.

Edwina stands on the other side of the booth.  She's more casual with a jeans jacket cuffed with ribbons, a moss purse, and a skirt made out of this fabulous wrapping paper.

Oh!  The stationery line!  It's a new addition to the company and is called Seven Barks.  It uses vintage photos to make the three collections:  equine, canine, and farm/fair.  The quality is exceptional and the designs will make anyone smile.  I walked the entire show and never saw anything like this.

You'll find journals, book marks, gift tags, luggage tags, mouse pads, postcards and wrapping paper.

I LOVED the file folders.  All of this beauifully detailed packaging is done by developmentally delayed adults. Rebecca has a background in social services and one of their goals is to give these employees the sense of accomplishment and the pride of a job well done.

Here's the gift wrap made into a pleated skirt for Edwina, the mannequin.  It comes in dogs or horses and is beautifully heavy quality.

Here's an example of the handbags she offers.  This one took over a year to bring from design to production.  All of the hardware in the line is authentic equestrian hardware and this stirrup is a real pony stirrup!!!  I wish you could pick this up and feel how lovely it is.  All of the pieces are bench made and they use master harness makers for their leather.  And everything in the entire booth is entirely made in the USA.  Not made somewhere else and assembled here, but MADE here!

OK!  I lied about that a teeny bit.  There is this exception.  This bag is made from antique french grain sacks.  The other bag you see here is made from vintage Hudson Bay blankets.  See the belt, too?

This grouping is made from canvas and these pieces with the grain sack images are the hottest thing!

How about some dog collars or leashes?

Or small leather goods and jewelry?

Loved these bit bracelets!

As a special bonus, the printer.......

and the production manager for Seven Barks were there.  They welcomed feedback and suggestions for new items.  At least they pretended to!  They were the sweetest men!

It's admirable to see a vendor who has a vision and commitment and sticks to them both.  To see more of this line, go to

I'm still unpacking catalogues, line sheets, business cards and other literature from the show.  Three buildings, thousands of vendors, and many cups of coffee later, I am stunned and appreciative of all of the heart that these vendors put into their merchandise.  What an endorsement of the American way of life.  Call it commercialism, capitalism, or anything else, but I see it as a way of bringing a dream to reality.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Asiatic Pheasant

Mom is visiting and she is very much a blue and white girl.  We had a lazy morning planned together, so I set the breakfast table with a tablescape I thought she would love.  I used a common, but beautiful china pattern called Asiatic Pheasant.

I've had these old blue and white linens for a long time.  I wish they could tell me about some of the dinners that they have "seen".  Someone loved them very much, as they are in beautiful shape.

Here's the design on the table square before I set it with dishes.  The embroidery is simply breathtaking.

Just two for a lovely morning!

Here are the details on the pattern name and stamp.

I set the Asiatic Pheasant on a white scalloped plate from Z Gallerie, and used some of my mis-matched silver plate flatware.

I used this pearl handled knife.  I never use it if the food is not very easy to cut, as I'm fearful that the handle will come off.  That has happened to some similar serving pieces that I own.

These individual salt and pepper shakers seemed to be perfect for the morning.

Whole Foods had these very soft blue hydrangeas that were perfect to go with the linen cloth.

This held lingonberry jam for Mom and lemon curd for me.  I used cream soup spoons for the jam.

I love a French butter keeper and this bright white one is very adaptable to many tablescapes.

Someone gave me this blue and white wine coaster.

I use it here to hold a porcelain topped water bottle.

The cobalt blue juice glass was the only strong shot of strong color. 
I love spoiling my mom a bit!

I'll be posting at the following blog parties:
                                                          Tablescape Thursday

                                                                 Seasonal Sunday

                                                                Tabletop Tuesday

                                                             Wow Us Wednesday

Vintage Pinecones

Last summer, I bought these vintage pine cone dishes at a garage sale.  If you have read my blog at all, you've seen pine cones appear again and again.  My very favorite pine cone post is here.  This dinner party was much, much more casual and I put it together in a snap.  We had out of town guests and there was no time to fuss.

Here's a close up of the pattern.  It's very graphic and simple.

This is all it has stamped on the back.  I'm guessing that it was made in the 50's.  The serving pieces and cups, which I forgot to photograph, have that space ship feeling which was so popular then.

Here's the way the table came together.  I used a dupioni silk runner from the floral wholesaler.  This runner is so much wider than the ones you see in tabletop stores.  Then I added these quilted placemats from France.  These are actually used on the reverse side.  I'll admit that I added the placemats to protect the runner!  We were having jambalaya and I knew it had the potential to be messy.  And it a certain person's place.

This huge pottery bowl of pine cones usually sits on the coffee table in our second floor tv room.  I about gave myself a hernia carrying it down here and back and then didn't use it.  More on that later.

These handsome candlesticks are back for another dinner!

As are the rattan wine coaster and faux bois s/p shakers.

And you've seen this flatware very frequently.  I never realize how often I use some of my stuff until I post about it!  But it is funny how my favs have changed through the years.

These pine cone embroidered napkins didn't photograph very true to color.  They are really a better match to the runner than they appear.

These pine cone etched wine glasses have been another frequent visitor to the table this year.  I promise that I'm about done with fall/winter tables!

I decided to use these amber glass salad plates for salad.

These pine cone plates have such great texture.  They came from Target last Christmas.  They held our Banana's Foster for dessert.  Wow!  Was this ever a big hit!  And sooooo easy.  I'm putting this recipe on the top of the dessert file, for sure.

Here's a close up.  This was taken before we ate, but I swear the plates were almost this clean after everyone finished their dessert.

Here's the centerpiece I ended up using.  I actually liked the big pottery bowl better, but I remembered that our guests gave us this for Christmas several years ago.  I thought it would reinforce how much I like it if they saw it on the table during dinner.  It usually sits on a chest in front of the sofa in our terrace level family room.  Boy, does it ever look pretty at Christmas time when I fill it half way up with fresh cranberries.  I was going to cover the bottom with some natural colored rock, but I never circled back to do so.  Oh well.....the fellowship of the dinner is the most important, as Sandy at The Reluctant Entertainer tells us so well.  And that was just great!

I'll be posting at the following blog parties:

Tablescape Thursday at Between Naps on the Porch

Seasonal Sunday

Tabletop Tuesday

Wow Us Wednesday

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