French Garage Sales (without the garage) 2 comments

September 27, 2015, posted by Michelle – September is a big month for vide-greniers (attic sales) in France, or what we’d call garage sales. But in lieu of actually being in garages, the sidewalks of a main street become packed with tables of household items and clothes being sold by residents of the neighborhood. It was a sunny, crisp fall day today so I took advantage of it by visiting several vide-greniers. You never know what you’ll find but I always find some wonderful things and today was no exception as I picked up some beautiful vintage linens and a few other items. Enjoy the photos(click on any individual photo to enlarge it):

Let us hear about your garage sale or estate sale experiences. To leave a comment, click on the title of the post and the comment form will appear at the bottom of the post.

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Dining Among the Sunflowers


August 7, 2015, posted by Gina – Last weekend my husband and I had the most wonderful six course dinner with wine pairings. This special dinner was on a large private property in a lovely barn behind the host’s home. The dinner was excellent and afterwards we picked sunflowers and zinnias. The hosts sent us home with fresh tomatoes, note cards made from photos of their sunflowers and a small  painting which was a Walter Anderson print hand painted by the host.

Sunflower print

“Sunflower”, Walter Anderson


Here’s what we ate:

Appetizer – Crostini topped with ricotta cheese, prosciutto, grilled peaches and honey

Salad – Caprese salad with fresh tomatoes and basil from the garden we were sitting next to.

Soup – Watermelon gazpacho

Grilled Japanese eggplant served alongside chicken thighs that had an amazing seasoning and were grilled.

Ceviche with shrimp, scallops, white fish, avocado……so delicious

Main Course – Beef tenderloin with lady peas and baby okra grown in the garden

Dessert – Pound cake ice cream and blueberry ice cream

Among the wines were:

Barton & Guestier Côtes De Provence 2014, France

Martin Codax Albarino 2013 from Rias Baixas, Spain

Domus Vitae Brunello di Montalcino DOCG 2008, Tuscany, Italy

Veuve Clicquot Demi-Sec, NV, Champagne, France



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Up Close and Personal

Floral palette
June 3, 2015, posted by Gina – Last week we gave you a tour of the table settings and general décor we created for a bridal luncheon and now we’d like to share some photos and information on the floral arrangements and a couple of other details.

Above you see the floral palette we chose for the day. Color harmony is an important aspect of floral design and by looking at a typical color wheel, you can see many formulas for creating color combinations. We chose an analogous palette which uses colors that are found next to each other on the color wheel.

footbath arrangement
If you love blue and white porcelain as much as we do then you can certainly appreciate this footbath. Many of you may wonder just why in the world it is called a footbath. Well here’s a little history:

Footbaths originated in China during the Ming Dynasty and were traditionally used only by women from the wealthiest families who practiced foot binding. In turn, this practice became popular as a means of displaying status. So how in the world did we end up using them for flowers? It turns out that in the 1980’s and exporter began shipping beautiful porcelain footbaths all over the world. Interior designers embraced them as they were as pretty as the ever popular fish bowls but were the perfect size for a dining table or sideboard. Who knew?

In this arrangement, we used a magenta kalanchoe, maidenhair fern and a bit of Spanish moss. When we open our shop, we plan to offer footbaths so you can easily create a wonderful centerpiece just like we did.

This smaller blue and white planter was used as a companion and we love how it echoed our color palette on this table.

small blue and white planter

This arrangement in a vintage rose bowl carried on our color palette and we particularly loved the fully open white roses. We will be offering new and vintage varieties of containers like this one when our shop is up and running.

Rose Bowl
Back in the day, before paper cocktail napkins were so widely available, beautiful linen cocktail napkins were used. These light blue ones are just so pretty and we think perfect for a beautiful, special event. These are vintage and we are planning on offering some of the finest vintage linens around once our shop is open.

Blue linen cocktail napkins

PlacecardThese place cards were specially created by a professional calligrapher to coordinate with the flowers for the luncheon. Place cards seem to be used mostly for larger functions but we believe it adds a special touch and truly gives a warm welcome to each person. Blank place cards can be found at most craft stores and are really fun and easy to incorporate into your event. In our case, we wanted to use place cards to insure that the bride and her bridesmaids were able to sit together and enjoy the day. After all, the luncheon was in their honor.

Do you add special touches to your tables? Do you have some favorite containers and planters that you use for special arrangements? We’d like to hear about your ideas, so please leave a comment by clicking on the title of this post to expand the comment form.

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Roses, Roses Everywhere 1 comment


Chocolate Roses (!) on display at the Lyonnais chocolatier Bernachon

May 29, 2015, posted by Michelle – This weekend Lyon is hosting the annual Festival of Roses and roses are literally everywhere! At City Hall there was an exhibition of floral arrangements created by the top 50 floral designers; some were architectural, some whimsical, some classical but all were creative and beautiful. Then I wandered out into the city where rose compositions and displays were set up in various squares and gardens. I have so many photos I’d like to share that I created a few galleries so you can see everything at a glance. Click on any individual photo to enlarge it. Enjoy!

Rose Arrangements and Garden Gallery

Rose Cake Gallery

Perfume and Dress Gallery

Roses in the City Gallery

Have you been to a rose show that really impressed you? Do you grow roses or, like me, do you just dream of them? We’d like to hear from you so if you have a comment please click on the title of this post and the comment form will appear at the end.

Festival de roses 046

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Bridal Luncheon 1 comment

May 22, 2015, posted by Gina -Last weekend several hostesses, including yours truly, gave a bridal luncheon for a very special young lady (see more about the table settings HERE). She requested spaghetti as the main dish but after much thought we decided baked ziti would be a better alternative, if only because it’s a little easier to eat!

We set up a champagne bar with St. Germaine liquor, orange juice and cranberry-raspberry juice, orange slices, fresh raspberries, and sugar cubes (think Moonstruck). The ladies absolutely loved the champagne and being outside on the screened-in porch on such a beautiful spring day.

Bridal Luncheon Champagne Bar up close

raspberries and sugar cubes

Bridal Luncheon Back PorchFresh baked olive bread and cream cheese topped with an amazing brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce and pecan sauce served as the appetizers.Bridal Luncheon Olive Bread

After appetizers everyone gathered inside for a few words of congratulations to the bride and a prayer of thanks before lunch.

The lunch menu:
Crunchy Romaine Salad
Baked Ziti
Sassy Green Beans
Fruit Salad
French bread
Strawberry Cake (the Bride’s favorite)

If you’d like to leave a comment, please click on the title of this post and the comment form will appear at the bottom of the post. We’d like to hear from you!

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Bridal Luncheon Table Settings 1 comment

May 22, 2015, posted by Gina – Last week nine hostesses (yours truly among them) organized a bridal luncheon for a young lady who, as most of us have known her her whole life, is near and dear to our hearts. We also hosted a bridal luncheon for her sister last year; yes, that’s right one after the other!

Guests were signaled to the house by a small hand-tied bouquet with large white ribbon on the mailbox and the theme continued as guests were greeted by a bridal veil halo arrangement on the front doors.

Bridal Luncheon Front Door Arrangment up closeThe ladies were guided to a screened-in porch that was the setting for a champagne bar and appetizers (click HERE for information about the food and drinks).

Bridal Luncheon Champagne BarAfter lunch the bride-to-be was presented with an apron monogrammed with her married initials and a wonderfully cute story about the history of the apron was told. Earlier, while the guests enjoyed appetizers, they were given wooden spoons and asked to write a message about marriage to the bride on the spoon as a keepsake. One of my favorite quotes was from My Big Fat Greek Wedding, “The man is the head of the household but the woman is the neck and she can turn the head anyway she wants”.

Bridal Luncheon Spoons-2

Now for a tour of the table settings…

Blue Italian

The blue and white china is Spode Blue Italian, a design icon. In the 1700’s blue and white china was very popular around the globe as the UK and Europe were flooded with imports from China. In 1773, imports began to slow down although demand for blue and white remained high. Spode’s blue and white collections were very popular in America where the tableware reminded the settlers of home.

Bridal Luncheon Spode Table-1

In 1784, Josiah Spode perfected the process of underglaze printing on earthenware with tissue paper transfers made from hand engraved copper plates. Initially, the designs were reproductions of the Chinese porcelain that had been so popular in earlier years. Spode launched original designs such as Willow, Tower and Blue Italian in 1790. Blue Italian features scenes of the Italian countryside, remarkably detailed figures among Roman ruins and an 18th century Imari Oriental border.

About the table: I used a French inspired tablecloth (source: HomeGoods, a recent purchase), toile placemats (source: Pier 1, purchased many years ago), rattan chargers (source: Pier 1, purchased many years ago), vintage cream napkins with a brown border (source: antique store), tortoise crystal (Pier 1) and Bamboo Flatware (source: Ballard Designs).

At each place setting there was an eyelet sachet filled with lavender and a tag with the bride and groom’s names and the wedding date printed on it. (source:  Flying Little Birds shop on Etsy, these were handmade and just beautiful)


Castle Garden

The Castle Garden pattern was manufactured by Lenox in the United States from 1973-1993. It features a strong floral border with hints of a medieval coat of arms (thus the name Castle Garden) on a cream background with raised gold trim.

Bridal Luncheon Castle Garden Place Setting
About the table: The tablecloth has the look of burlap but the softness of a cotton fabric (source: purchased at Walmart years ago). The gold beaded glass chargers add a bit of glamour (source: One Kings Lane, recent purchase). The napkins are made by Vietri, the flatware is King Edward silver-plate and Rose Point silver-plate (source: Mother-in-Law) and the crystal is Lenox Hayworth.

Duchess Blue Green

The Duchess Blue Green is by Royal Tettau, a German porcelain manufacturer which started producing patterns in 1794. Duchess Blue Green has a beautiful blue green border with gold flowers and leaves accenting each piece.

Bridal Luncheon Kitchen TableAbout the table: Grass cloth table runner (Source: Homegoods), White wooden chargers (Source: Pier 1), Leopard print napkins (Source: Split P), Crystal is Waterford Marquis (Source: Dillard’s), Flatware (Source: Southern Living At Home, purchased years ago).

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