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Thursday, September 15, 2011

Fully Grown. . .9/15/11

Who among us doesn't remember that cute little girl with her blonde ringlet curls and lisp in the movie E.T.: Extra Terrestrials? Well, that was 1982. Now in 2011, after years of hard-partying, short-lived marriages, punk rock style and hot pink hair flubs, that actress, Drew Barrymore, has emerged as a major player in Hollywood. Although she isn't new on the scene and she's definitely not playing the role of ingenue anymore, the star has reinvented her self and her style in a classic, sexy and impeccable manner. When I saw the actress, film director, screenwriter and producer in a 16-page fashion spread in this month's Vogue magazine, I immediately tore the pages to share with you. Miss Barrymore looks amazing!! She is nothing if not elegant, ethereal and oh-so-uptown. May I also say that if you have not received your "fashion bible" in the mail yet, you need to pick up the September issue right away. It is chock full of amazing photographs that in my opinion are more artistic than much of the so-called artwork hanging in our modern museums.

I have always viewed fashion as art. It requires vision and forward-thinking creativity; clean lines, symmetry and a true understanding of the modern woman. In these photos Drew Barrymore is absolutely inspired, and the clothing she models. . .works of art.
This emerald green Emilio Pucci gown looks red-carpet ready and the color plays so well with her fiery tresses.
Elegant in hot pink Lanvin Paris.
This is sooooo incredibly sexy and sleek!! I love the way velvet and lace, two very soft and ladylike fabrics, look masculine and feminine at the same time here. . .leave it to the genius of Tom Ford ;)
And would you really expect anything less than perfection from Ralph Lauren? I never do and similarly, he never disappoints. Look at the flow and light airy-ness of this gown.
Barrymore strikes a fierce pose for Oscar de la Renta.
I LOVE this gown because I would absolutely wear it! The color is INSANE!! That is the most beautiful deep red I've ever laid eyes on and the neckline is fabulous because you need no other jewelry and it increases the volume taking the dress from "fancy-maxi" to the Academy Awards.
The outfit is exquisite and divine. . .the come-hither look? Dangerous! This channels old Hollywood to me, the age of Marlene Deitrich, Greta Garbo, and Barbara Stanwyck.
Carolina Herrera's all-time muse is Renee Zellwegger but I must say this Asian/Kimono-inspired gown looks custome-made for Barrymore.
It takes a certain attitude to pull off this Sherpa-sleeved coat by Etro; someone with East coast attitude and West Coast spirit. Barrymore has both.
Lovely and demure in Valentino.
A normal woman might look boxy and silly in this Prada coat. Not Barrymore. . .is it because her perfect scarlet manicure matches her coat belt so flawlessly? ;)
If there is such a thing as Utopia. . .this is their uniform.
A comely Barrymore in Chanel. An infallible collaboration.
And speaking of Barbara Stanwyck. . .
Not many people can pull off a mustard colored suit. . .maybe a pimp ;)

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Baby, Baby!! Shower Me!!. . .9/4/11

Our third (out of five) tablescape is for a brunch-style baby shower. This one's for you Erika M.!!

This table setting can easily be translated into a bridal shower, a ladies luncheon, birthday etc. but in this particular case we were celebrating the imminent arrival of a long-awaited baby for our dear friend. My mantra for bridal and baby showers is always the same: simple, soft and elegant. I don't like to over-decorate or go the "obvious" route with stylings as you'll see below. For example, in my opinion, one or two focal points for decorations is sufficient. I like to always think about 1) where the guest of honor will be seated and make that area look nice since she will likely be photographed there a lot, 2) make the table setting nice, 3) make the drink station fun and unique and 4) add something special or sentimental for the guest of honor. AND as a general rule, I tend to feel that certain events should be looked at almost like an outfit. . .if there are too many accessories and things to look at, dial it down. Don't over clutter a table, don't hang streamers or pink bunting on anything that'll stand still, don't think that every square inch of your home has to look like a party store vomited there. . .it needn't and it shouldn't be so.
Here is the mantel. I decorated this area because we placed a large cream slip covered chair in front of it for the guest of honor as she opened her baby shower gifts.
I pinned some antique baby dresses that usually hang on the wall in my daughter's bedroom with clothes pins and borrowed this antique children's chair and one of her bunny rabbits to give it dimension and height.
We placed some of these sweet pink spray roses around the tables here and there.
Our guest of honor brought her baby book and I placed it on a small table near the front door for people to sign in.
. . .and I used two antique teapots filled with pink spray roses as accents on the table. A couple of books elevated one for height and dimension as well. Having them both on the table looks flat and boring.
One of our talented hostesses made these sweet prayer cards and sewed them together as books. Guests could jot down a scripture or a prayer or a bit of parenting advice or anything they wanted to share as a keepsake for our honored mama.
This is the drink station. I apologize that the photograph is a little dark but I sewed this tablecloth which has a ruffled edge and used it as the base. Pewter plates hold pitchers of water and mint iced tea.
You might recognize these birds and wooden hearts?? I made this for my daughter's first birthday. Here's how: I found a huge tree branch on the side of the road, took it home, bought a galvanized metal bucket, cemented the branch into it and poured gravel in the bucket to weigh it down. Next I used pink seam binding for it's light airy quality, tied it randomly around some branches and then made these birds out of differing pastel fabrics. They were my first sewing project ever!!
A few years back I saw a pile of random glass teacups at an antique show (are you starting to understand where I get all my stuff??) and loved how dainty and cute they were! They were $1.25 a piece so I bought all 18. . .wish there had been more! Since then whenever I see some, I buy them and now when we have showers or small events I can use a mismatch of glass teacups to serve punch or tea :) I thought hanging them on this French bottle drying rack would be a fun and unique way to display them.
Water, mint iced tea and what else, PINK lemonade were our drink options.
I used my dining room for serving food. Used to be that when we all hosted showers, there was enough food to feed several armies but as the years have passed, and I've hosted dozens of events here, we have all learned our lesson - people don't eat as much as you think they will (especially women) so choose a couple of things everyone likes, something savory and something sweet :)
Fresh bakery croissants and grape and walnut chicken salad. . .
. . .a tomato, onion and herb quiche that one of our hostesses made from scratch. . .looks like a work of art if you ask me!!
. . .quiche Lorraine, which we cut into slices to set it apart visually from the other quiche and for ease of course.
. . .fresh assorted fruit. . .
. . .that was soooo incredibly sweet and tasty!!
. . .another hostess made these adorable baby carriage cookies as favors. . .
. . .and for dessert, what else but the classic white petit fours from the best bakery in Houston, Moellers!!
Congratulations friend!! And welcome baby Eleanor!! Hope you all enjoyed this tablescape. . .I know I did! It was such a joy to host this event.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Guess Who's Coming to Dinner?? PART 2. . .9/1/11

Continuing with our "tablescapes" theme, I have created a second option for a dinner party/guests as requested by some of our readers. The first one was a table for four people and it was simpler, lighter. Fresh. More Provencal; more french country.

The following tablescape is all about COLOR!! It would be perfect as shown here for a day time brunch/lunch or could easily be transformed into something more festive for an evening affair by simply adding small glass or mercury containers with votives scattered across the table. I would personally use this type of tablescape for an evening dinner party because I like the "sexiness" of color at night (feels very Moroccan) while preferring a softer more muted ambiance for day.

Now, as a disclaimer, let me say that this table setting was NOT in preparation for an actual dinner. I prepared this tablescape with a combination of my own tabletop items and ones from my FAVORITE home decor store in ALL of Houston, Olivine. AND another disclaimer, I'd like to say that I pulled this together in about 10 minutes and because it is HOTTER than blazes outside right now I didn't go "above and beyond" by adding serve ware and tall glasses or silverware. . .in retrospect, I probably should have done so to give you a true vision of what this tablescape would look like if completed but consider these photos a starting point wherein you can add your own serve ware and tabletop items. I WILL however at the end of this blog tell you what I would have personally added and how YOU can make this EXACT table setting EVEN better with MORE ideas!!
A full-on view from my deck. The table and chairs are my own.
An aerial view of the lovely and wildly colorful table setting! I love how bright it all is!!
These Melamine plates and bowls are from Olivine. They are virtually indestructible, dishwasher safe and ideal for outdoor entertaining!! Plates - $17, bowls, $13.95 - what a steal!! And those gorgeous bright green apples? Nope, not Granny Smith - they are candles!! $5.75 each. How lovely would they be lit up at night while people wait to be seated with a cocktail in hand? :)
Here is a different plate color option. There are TONS of colors and patterns to be seen at Olivine. Here, I used three orange table settings and three yellow because I love the way the colors pop against the table runner.
These adorable wicker-cased glass cups are only $7!! The chargers are my own and I love them! I use them for everything!! I found them at Nutcracker Market last year. The wrought iron vase is Aiden Gray and is only $63. It comes with a glass insert but I removed it for photographing purposes. The sunflowers were $9.99 at H.E.B.
So cute and colorful!!! The bright table runner is an antique I found a couple of years back. One day I want to turn it into a long lumbar pillow for a bright Anthropologie-esque sofa but today it is merely a table runner :)
These festive napkins are $24 for the set of 4 and the napkin rings are only $26.50 for the set of 4 too! The napkin rings don't come in varying colors as shown here. I took two separate sets and mixed and matched for this tablescape.
These gorgeous antiqued candlesticks are such a fun addition to any table, indoors or out and when they aren't on your table, use them just about anywhere in your home! During the day, I like to leave them candle-less but at night some candles would really create a lovely and romantic mood. The tall candlestick is $90 and the short one is $95.
A different view :)

There you have it! A second tablsescape - a table for six. To make this table setting EVEN better, take about 6 simple glass, mercury, or even small paper containers and fill them with votive candles. Distribute them evenly across the table, between serve ware, down the center or wherever you can find some free space. I would also use a combination of some pretty pewter platters and some simple glass serving pieces for the food. The reason is that a table this colorful calls for a colorful meal - perhaps some fresh corn with pretty parsley garnish atop, a bright spinach salad with red strawberries and feta cheese, some fresh sauteed snap peas with lemon wedges as a garnish, maybe some pink salmon smattered with fresh mango salsa and some roasted sweet potatoes and herbs. Place the most colorful items in glass serve ware so that your guests can see what's in the bowl - this way it almost doubles as table decor!! Things like the main entree can be placed on a platter. Hope this tablescape was a good one for you!! I LOVED creating it and want to say. . .

A BIG THANK YOU to Olivine and Cathy for providing the plates, bowls, apples, napkins, napkin rings, glasses, candlesticks and the vase for this beautiful tablescape. I so appreciate your friendship and your trust in creating this table setting. Thanks for allowing us to use all your beautiful housewares to share this small vision of entertaining guests.