Monday, September 25, 2017

A wedding wreath and live event painter

 The final week has arrived and it is all coming down to the details. This courtyard wedding is taking place outside, and there will be different areas that will host certain functions.  The little garden shed will be the place where the wedding musicians will set up to play the classical music for the cocktail hour upon arrival, and then the traditional Here Comes the Bride wedding march.  Our wedding is nontraditional in the sense of place and so it makes sense to us to have things a bit differently than a "regular" wedding.  We are having cocktails and hors d'oeuvres for guests when they arrive, much like you would at a party.  And I like to think of this as a party, instead of a wedding, as I plan out the details.  Makes it less stressful, and more exciting that way.  Who needs the stress, right?  
A pretty wedding wreath adorns the french door of the shed, and I will be hanging a pair of gilded candelabras beside the door as well.
 A fern wreath got a few bunches of silk lilly of the valley and pink roses to give it the romantic classic fairytale look I am going for.
 This morning Piper was running around the yard and I snapped a quick pic.  The gravel area infront of the shed is where the musicians will set up to serenade us....and a few steps below is where we are creating the cocktail lounge and bar to start the party off when guests arrive.  That area is still a work in progress.
This view shows the lovely parterre garden and the white belgian mums are beginning
to put on their show.  The arbor above is where the couple will exchange vows, and that
will be decorated with some tulle and a similar floral treatment, with tiny white lights
to give the storybook twinkle that every good fairy tale should have.
Two special ways we will capture this event are having an amazing photographer,
my friend Matthew Mead and his equally amazing wife, Jenny Mead.
(Ellen McHale, Jenny Mead, Matthew Mead, Amy Chalmers)
They are shooting the wedding, and in their hands, I know the story will be told
in a most beautiful way.  I feel incredibly lucky!
 The other amazing way to remember this night,
 will be a painting created during the event by the one and only
She will set up her easel and paint the wedding scene during the wedding! GASP!
 I am enchanted by her paintings and how she captures the mood
 and the people at the weddings she paints.
This painting was my favorite, the mood, the whimsy and the fairytale quality 
all portray Happily Ever After in a moment captured in time, that speaks to a lifetime ahead.

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Thursday, September 14, 2017

A Cabbage Parterre for the Courtyard Wedding

A parterre is essentially a geometric garden.  
A  level space that has an ornamental arrangement of flowers or plants
 creating a formal garden space.  The beds may be edged in stone, 
or tightly clipped hedges like boxwood to contain the flowers. 
 For the outdoor wedding, I decided a small parterre would be nice at the 
base of the stone wall, as it will be a focal point during the ceremony.  
 Above the wall is the arbor terrace, which is a small grassy area 
where the vows will be exchanged.  
The wedding is best described as an intimate affair, 
with less than 30 people in attendance. 
 My wish was that even though the wedding would be outdoors, it
would still have a formality about it, and a bit of storybook glamour.
 This bed was overrun with mint, and you may recall we had an iron bench
 flanked by these two large urns filled with flowers. 
 My son and I carefully removed the flowers from 
the urns, leaving the draped greenery that had tiny white flowers.  
After we removed the colorful summer flowers, he planted ornamental
 cabbages in green and white, and some silver dusty miller.  
 The urns look quite formal now, in a garden style fashion.  We plan to have cut roses in 
water vials tucked in between the cabbage leaves for a dash of romance.  After laying out
the Belgian white mums with the green and white cabbages, and a few more dusty millers,
the bed is now ready to be filled with potting soil.  Old reclaimed cobblestones were added at 
the start of the bed to create the outline of the parterre.  
The effect should be quite beautiful when all is said and done.  
 For the dining elements, the bride and groom and I have been on a few expeditions looking for a few additions to add to things we already have for the table settings.  My French antique monogrammed napkins will be tied together with this pretty embroidered gold and blush pink ribbon.  Pink and gold touches will be the color palette for the table, set on a ground of white.  I have stacks of vintage gold rimmed dinnerware that will set the right note of elegance and formality inside the wedding tent.
Gathering elements to express the style of the wedding is such fun
 Having a vision, and then piecing it together, from 
the table, to the garden, to imagining how the evening will unfold brings
me much joy. 

A little side note:  I have a new computer, and it is a whole new learning
process on how to get my photos loaded and edited and placed in the blog
format.  So this post is a triumph, and I hope to get up to speed soon
as there is much to share.  I have also started watching my granddaughter Reeve
three days a week, so she is my priority on those special days. 

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Friday, September 1, 2017

Pastoral mural, heirloom roses, romantic wedding tent and Piper

 Its been exactly one month since I last posted, and there is a very good reason
for the delay.  These dogs are running my life, and its just not right. Sure Piper
looks all innocent sitting calmly on the step, but she is a puppy in hyper mode a 
lot of the time.  In between puppy and dog care, we also hosted a funeral for 
my husbands cousin right after the book shoot, started planning a wedding for the 
courtyard in six weeks, as well as getting prepped for doing daycare for baby Reeve.
 Life is getting busier by the second!  So let me explain about the wedding plans,
my son Brandon and his fiance Mimi have decided to take the plunge after almost
ten years of living together.  They recently moved back here from LA, and they
are letting me plan it!! Woohoo!! 
So I came up with the idea of an enchanted courtyard wedding.
 The vows will be said on the upper lawn terrace in front of the arbor.
We will have a tent over the courtyard down below,
for an intimate outdoor wedding dinner after the ceremony at the end of this month.
I found this magical photo of a wedding tent, with a ceiling lined in tulle and tiny
white lights with chandeliers.  Mimi and I love the look, so that is what I plan to create.
The tulle is on order, and I will dedicate a blog post when I make it, so others can do
the same if they wish.  Essentially a rod pocket will be stitched and a nylon cord threaded
through the center of it, and then it will be hoisted up to the center pole and ziptied to that.
Tiny white string lights will be run over the pole framework first, then the sheer tulle will
go over the lights to create a dreamy effect.  I have an old gilded chandelier that I will ask
Mr. Maison Decor to wire and that will hang in the center of our snug 15x15 tent.
This inspiration tent is enormous...I wouldn't be so sure I could do a tent that big, but 
our tent is going to be manageable, or so I predict.  Stay tuned.  
 All of the furniture in the courtyard needs to be relocated to another area so the tent can
be installed and the tables and chairs laid out.  So that is the first part of the courtyard wedding.
But in other areas of our lives we are trying to get a grip on how active the dogs are as they grow.
At first everything was nice and normal, but once Piper was allowed up onto the couch, the shenanigans began in earnest.  Here they are acting all calm again.  This is not real life folks.  They had taken to running circles in this room and leaping up on the couch as they ran around and around chasing one another.  OY!! The couch was taking a beating, and so was the room.  
 As I planned to start watching my granddaughter Reeve in the fall, 
I had to think of a space that we could use together, without the dogs.  
For her safety and my sanity.  So it came to me....this room would now be OFF LIMITS
 to the four legged variety. I will put a gate across from the
 staircase to the front door to keep them out!  The french doors to the dining room 
will be kept closed, with the dog beds on the other side so they can watch if they like. 
I had a practice day for several hours with Reeve and it went great!
  She is an easy baby and I really felt myself exhale and just revel in her care.  
She is a little character, smiling and making fun faces and sounds. 
 Looking forward to watching her grow right before my eyes.
 Our roses came into full bloom at the end of August, and they are the finicky variety of 
David Austin.  Finicky in that if you cut them, they don't last but a day, 
so I mostly enjoy them in the garden.  Which kind of stinks, 
because they are amazing and I love to bring in a cut flower that smells like a rose,
which actually is rare these days.  The David Austins smell fantastic!!  
 The climbing rose on the arbor is New Dawn and it is finally getting established. 
 I am not sure how to train the canes to grow up and over...
I tied some twine to long branches and attached it there, but when Nora Murphy came, 
I untied them all as it looked ugly.  Anyone with knowledge on this process?  
 Piper is getting so big, she just jumps up the rock wall and has access to the terrace and beyond.
Colby never does this, even though he easily could.  For some reason he respects boundaries and borders and doesn't cross them, which meant life in the courtyard was easy with him.  But Piper has created a whole new ball game out here....I may have to install a rabbit fence in behind the bushes and trees up here to contain her.
 Since the dogs have been banished from the living room, their hangout couch is in the family room. 
This room has new IKEA sofas, and I purposely picked the color sand for the slipcovers to match Pipers fur color. Hahah!! Seriously, I did.  Again, here they are looking all innocent. Anyway, I redid this room for the Nora Murphy Country House book shoot, painting the walls the prettiest shade of green, new beige furniture, linen draperies in a similar shade as the walls. 
All these pics are with my iPhone, just because I don't have time anymore for setting up the camera and tripod. At least not right now. But this room is so pleasant to be in, and I wanted to show the mural that I painted.  There is a door behind it that was always a decorating nightmare.  So the mural was my way of making the door disappear.  I just love the calming effect it has on the room.
And I guess sometimes it may have a calming effect on Piper too?  The walls are Hollingsworth Green by Benjamin Moore.  Its a wonderful color and it continues the Swedish color palette I have used throughout the house. I used all kinds of paints to create the mural, wall paint and colors from my stash of Annie Sloan chalk paint too.  A spritzer water bottle helped the paint to move and give me a watercolory effect.  Its just so much fun to create, and when I get the chance to do that these days, I really relish the process.  I am hoping I will be able to post more often, so I can go into detail on the wedding plans, which is going to be romantic and rustic and elegant, all on a budget.  

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