Tuesday, October 1, 2019

A Garden tour at a French Country Estate in Newport Rhode Island

Matthew Mead took me to a book launch party last month. 
It was held  at the French Country estate of retired food editor of 
Bon Appetit magazine, Bettie Bearden Pardee. 
Bettie is the author of the blog Private Newport, 
and gives her readers the insider view of wonderful Newport Rhode Island.
Bettie is featured in the new book, Entertaining at Home, by Ronda Carmen. 
 Matthew was the principal photographer and I shared many fascinating chats with him 
as he traveled the country shooting the homes of designers 
as they showed him how they entertain at home.  
Ronda's book is just wonderful~ you will be inspired with all the entertaining ideas
and recipes and ways you can invite others to your home to party in so many ways!
Join us as we step behind the gated entrance of this truly magical French Country home
and poke around her gardens and outbuildings soaking it all in.
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Monday, September 23, 2019

Pumpkin Punchbowl Centerpiece

 The first day of fall has arrived in New England, and so we say goodbye to our short lovely summer.
 The nights have been cooler and the days have been pleasant, but these nice fall days are
fleeting as well, and winter weather will be next.  But until then, lets dive into decorating for
fall.  I am not a big fan of too much fall decor around the house, but one thing I do
love are the pretty fabric pumpkins that are everywhere!  Over the last several years
I have either purchased them or made my own using all kinds of materials.
 For a nice and easy centerpiece I assembled them all in my silver punch bowl that I found at the Brimfield Antique Fair.  This punchbowl has been so much fun to use for centerpieces for the various
holidays.  Everything looks good in it!  This year I picked up some pink velvet pumpkins and a tiny blue floral pumpkin, both from contacts I have online on Facebook and Instagram.  My blogging and Instagram friend, Larissa Jenkins, has a cute Etsy shop and she sold her pink velvet pumpkins there.  Her blog, Welch House 1900, is on my sidebar if you want to visit her incredible old house 
and see the masterful decorating in the style of  Glamorous French Vintage style.  
The blue pumpkin I noticed on a Facebook post was being sold by the beautiful shop called Vignettes in San Diego.  I reached out and left a note that I wanted it...the shop owner quickly contacted me with her phone number and the next thing you know, 
here it is in my punch bowl like the cherry on top of a sundae! 
This was last year's thanksgiving centerpiece using many of the pumpkins I made myself,
and some velvet pumpkins I found at Homegoods. 
 We are having a party for my mother in law to celebrate her 90th birthday,
so I made a grand buffet tablecloth for our dining room out of a pale grey and cream toile.
The centerpiece looked really nice on the cloth, and I plan to use some of my vintage silver
trays for the party to give it that fancy vintage look I love.
Making my own pumpkins is a lot of fun, as I get to use leftover home decor fabrics or
I upcycle velvets from old clothing like jogging suits and fashion them into cute pumpkins.
Enjoy the links below for either making your own or visiting independent shops and blogs
that I find very inspiring! 

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Saturday, September 7, 2019

Country Home Magazine Shoot on Cape Cod

 Life is sooo glamorous these days!
During the week, sandwiched between babysitting
for my 2 year old monkey Reeve (which entails peanut butter sandwiches and diaper changes), 
I was invited to be a model and play a "guest" at a photo shoot for Country Home magazine
 by my friend Matthew Mead, the multitalented superstar in the magazine and book industry.  Matthew was producing this segment for CH and the location was 
my friend Sandra's beautiful home on Cape Cod.
 Sandra's home is quite famous now.
It has appeared in several magazines and has a devoted following on
Even I wrote a blog post about it with lots of pics when I first visited it after 
both of our homes were featured in Matthew Mead's DECORATING magazine together.
 This house overlooks Old Silver Beach and its simply spectacular inside and out!
The CH shoot was about a summer Pie Party on Cape Cod.  
Just like a little movie, the magazine shoot has a script and Matthew Mead was the producer. 
 He advised me to come in a blue and white gingham shirt and to arrive at noon.
This side porch was to be the setting for the "Pie Party", and it is a porch I know well,
as I have slumbered in the dreamy room that leads out onto the stone pillared porch.
Yup, this is MY ROOM when I stay at Sandra's!! Yummy!!
There are French doors to the right that lead to the side porch.
So when I arrived I walked through my bedroom (lol)
and this was the scene, with the ocean as a backdrop.
While Matthew was getting the props together for the shoot, I grabbed
a pic of him with our hostess.  Matthew was going to have one of the pies
cut up and placed on the antique blue and white plates that all the "guests"
were to gobble up while being photographed. Ha! Have you ever seen 
pictures of people actually eating?  I myself cannot wait to see how we all
look at this Pie Party, eating and laughing at the same time!
Sandra Cavallo, Amy Chalmers, Ellen McHale
One of the other guests is also one of my favorite people, artist Ellen McHale.
I met both Sandra and Ellen through Matthew 
when he was doing his own magazines on decorating several years ago. 
 Flashback to 2015.
This is the night we all met up at a party I threw for Matthew Mead 
for the magazine launch at my old shop Maison Decor.  
We had so much fun that night, laughing our heads off.
We have remained good friends and our point of connection is style guru Matthew.
 We aren't supposed to share too much of the actual shoot, but I wanted
to show you part of the styling Matthew did.
 Those antique silver glasses were scooped up by Sandra 
at an antique place and they have quite a story to them. 
 They are sailing trophy glasses from the Beverly Yacht Club.
Her kids are into sailing and she loves anything that has a meaningful story behind it, like I do.
Which is why we both are drawn to using vintage in home decor, its so much more interesting!
 He also used a fabric by the fabric designer Paula Arndt 
that is similar to the one I upholstered my Swedish trundle bed. 
You can order fabrics and samples from her Spoonflower account. 
 I ended up choosing the faded blueberry gingham
at the top for my sofa.  Isn't it pretty? 
You can see it in the background at my dining room table. 
Anyway....I digress.
 Ok, here is one shot including a pie....
but really, look at the porch view!! 

For the last scene we shot, we were all sitting out on Sandra's lawn in the 
old weathered Adirondack chairs and waiting to be handed plates of pie. 
That will be one of the shots in next summer's issue of Country Home magazine.
Which is something to look forward to after the fall and very long 
New England winter....sigh.

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Monday, September 2, 2019

Decorating Changes

Our living room has gone through some decorating changes this summer.
It all began with selling the painted baby grand piano.
Since we are planning to move to our lake home one day, (which is yet to be built),
I decided to sell off a few things we wouldn't be taking,
 like the piano to get prepared for the eventual move.
Then we impulsively bought a lilac colored sofa at an estate sale auction 
and played with where to put the sofa, since the piano was gone. 
Yes I said "WE", as hubs egged me on to buy it because it looked
much more comfortable than the Swedish couch we had.
 Also. the lilac of the sofa and the blue color of the wall just was a bit too much
for my taste, and I hated how the sofa looked against the staircase banister.
So that was going to have to change....

The couch went back between the windows, but not before I 
painted the walls a neutral color, French Canvas, by Benjamin Moore.
The corner where the piano was gained the mora clock from the front
entry area and the small French provincial desk.  
The Swedish trundle bed/sofa that started off in the living room last year,
was moved to the dining room for seating along the farm table.
I have been reupholstering it in a blue and white gingham.
I painted a pastoral mural to hang above it, however it ended up being moved
into the living room as seen in the previous pic above.  One thing leads to another,
and our home hasn't seen this much decorating activity in a long time.
A mirror and the opaline sconces got moved over the Swedish sofa.
This was the same mirror that hung on that wall shown in 
Nora Murphy's County House Style book.
An arrangement of purple transferware plates surrounded the mirror.
So it's been a full summer of moving furniture around and painting walls.
I have more changes to share but I will end it here, 
wishing you all a happy and safe Labor Day weekend!
We are visiting the lake cottage these last days of 
August, taking some needed family time with hubs and the kids,
before the school year begins and everyone is back on the wheel.
Goodbye summer and hello to the cool fall days that 
have quickly arrived in New England.

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Thursday, August 8, 2019

Fancy Pink Nursery for my French Dollhouse

 A beautiful French crib for the nursery in the dollhouse arrived.
One can make things, buy things and also rehab things for their dollhouse, and 
I do a combination of those things.  This crib is from the Bespaq miniature furniture 
company and they make very fine furniture and some is quite grand.
I wanted a royal and fancy feminine crib and so
 I hunted on eBay and Etsy until I found this sweet crib! 
I added the gingham bedskirt, which coordinates with the pink
gingham rug I made out of fabric on my ink jet printer. 
And baby got her own fireplace as well, which is really pretty,
but apparently I didn't take a good photo of it. Next time!
 Take a look at what I started with in this third floor space.
The aged walls were there, and next I painted the ceiling pink to go with
the pink bathroom, which is through the door in the next room.  I made 
the floral chest out of an unfinished wood bombe chest I already had.
Essentially its cutting out a paper print of a flower pattern that I found online.
First I painted the chest in a pink color close to the paper, then I used 
mod podge in matte finish to affix it to the wooden chest. 
The floors were covered in a paper print made to look like white painted wood planks.
The gingham rug layered on top of that, with the pretty crib sitting on the rug.
It all looked so cute together and I was quite pleased!  
 The walls were already made to look old. 
 I stamped a rose pattern in pink over the 
antiqued plaster walls to give it a faded hand painted look.
A cute little box with a vintage baby was a
 printable dollhouse accessory that I made. 
 Its the most darling room in my Petite Maison!
There will be more accessories to add to the nursery.
 I even have a fancy highchair, but that may go in the kitchen....
I hope you enjoyed seeing the latest addition to my French dollhouse.
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Monday, August 5, 2019

Blueberry picking, pie and antiquing at the cottage

 Our lake cottage is still a place we don't use very often because there
is no electricity or running water....but there is a beautiful lake 
with blueberry bushes. We visit most every weekend and our son
noticed the branches were loaded with ripe tiny blueberries.
It was a cool day for summer, so swimming wasn't at the top of our list.
We got right to picking blueberries so we could make a pie.
These are what are referred to as high bush blueberries. They are way up off
the ground, and our "bushes" are so old that they are like thin gnarly trees.
 Our cups were filling quickly as the three of us happily picked away.
 They are tinier in size than most of the cultivated varieties you
get in the supermarket. We needed five cups to make one pie.

The next day I looked for recipes and found a good one at Sally's Baking Addiction Blog.
"Simply the Best Blueberry Pie' recipe, used a cute method to make the top crust using 
cookie cutters.  Sally used stars while I used a vintage heart shaped cutter for the top crust.

 Since we had less than the six cups the recipe called for, I used a smaller
quiche style dish instead of a larger pie dish. 
Finish the crust with an egg wash and into the oven.
Absolutely glorious!! 
Served with Brigham's Vanilla ice-cream, this is 
a very rare summer time treat!
While we were at the lake, I visited my favorite antique shop in Northwood, NH.
Parker French Antiques, which has two shops, side by side. 
I took some phone pics and shared on my Instagram stories.
 The marvelous painted trunk was still sitting there. It may be overpriced, as it 
would have come home with me long ago....
 A set of 4 botanicals in a blue and white fabric matte caught my eye.
 The lower level of the shop has a zillion pieces of artwork, many originals.
 This old French Trumeau style mirror with a tinted print at the top and a delicate gilded
frame with a lot of detail was very pretty and dirt cheap.

 Our 17 year old son loves fishing and he had never heard of creel baskets. Even Reeve has begun
fishing with her dad and mom and she caught her first fish this week!
 These baskets are used by decorators for lodge homes in the
 mountains and by lakes and are sought after in good condition.
The smaller basket has a leather strap and buckle in the shape of a fish head. 
I might have to back and get it and stick it under the Christmas tree!

"An angler's creel is designed to function as an evaporative cooler when lined with moss
and dipped into the creek to keep the catch chilled.  Caught fish are inserted through a slot
in the top which is held in place by a small leather strap. " Wikipedia

Fancy chairs mixed in with old rugs and anything one can imagine.
A very old lawn sprinkler in the shape of a tractor. This thing will roll along as it waters
the grass.  Just a bunch of cool old stuff. I love looking at old things.
 Antiquing has always fascinated me as I love the beauty that antiques and vintage items
have that modern day housewares and home goods do not. 
 If you are curious about the cottage and the land that surrounds it, it is not very pretty.
After suffering tremendous tree loss and having to remove many trees and dig up stumps and 
cut them into logs and haul away, the yard is barren except along the shore area. The snakes of hay
protect the water from silt run off into the water.   We hope to be able to build next year, but for now
we will enjoy what it has to offer.  
Piper has discovered how to swim without being spastic.  She used 
to flop around gulping water but now is perfecting an elegant dog paddle
 and really enjoys getting in the water. She is standing in a cove that was created when
a stump of a giant tree was ripped out of the ground!  
Thats the latest from our little slice of heaven by the lake.

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