Sunday, February 26, 2012

~What's on my nightstand~

A Note Pad

 I always need to leave myself little reminder notes and
because some of my most creative thoughts come rushing forth just as I'm about to fall asleep, when my mind is quiet and free to run and play.

A wicker basket filled with magazines and some of my favorite movies

And Books of Course
Here are the two latest books I'm enjoying.

I ,like millions of others, have been swept away to the world of Downton Abbey.
It's the typical story of tension between the two young lovers. You know,will they or won't they get together? But we are captivated by

The Clothes.

The gleaming silver

The tables dressed, just so.

the gorgeous settings

And I am captivated by The Dowager Countess played by my all time fave, Maggie Smith.
I have been a huge fan for years. Does anyone remember "Californian Suite" ?. (1978)

 That is when I first saw her, I was just about twenty, but I'm a sucker for the verbal repartee and a killer English accent.
She played opposite Michael Caine ( another fave) and she had me at hello.

Here is just a sample of the wit delivered as only Maggie can deliver a line.
Regarding the untimely death of a visiting ambassador (Mr. Pamuk) who showed a glaring breech of etiquette, by expiring while in The Lady Mary's bed:
The Dowager Countess: "Oh my dears, is it really true? I can't believe it. Last night he looked so well. Of course it would happen to a foreigner. It's typical."
Lady Mary : "Don't be ridiculous."
Dowager Countess: "I'm not being ridiculous. No Englishman would dream of dying in someone else's house- especially somebody they didn't even know."
"I'm a woman, Mary. I can be as contrary as I choose."

And if you love the BBC series you will love the companion book authored by Julian Fellowes, the writer and director of the series. The book is beautiful to say the least. Full of gorgeous photos and lots of behind the scenes tidbits and historical notes. I'm loving it.

And now that the season has ended, where will I go on Sunday nights
 if not to Downton Abbey?

Thursday, February 23, 2012

~ The Picnic~

As I finish up this short series on 'the girlfriends luncheon', I thought I would end on a simple note.

Simple doesn't mean that there's still not a little attention to detail mind you and a little pre-planning.
So I planned a picnic for two at a charming spot by the river.
I packed my trusty picnic basket with homemade 'Muffuleta' sandwiches and potato salad, chips and ice cold drinks.
But in my little world, even a picnic by the river doesn't mean you can't have a tablecloth and cloth napkins. I'm just silly that way.

Pink gingham ribbon to tie around the wrapped sandwiches. Darling little pink plaid carry out boxes for special cookies from the bakery. Pink straw containers used for drink holders. It's fun gathering all the little accessories to set the scene.

The setting was perfect, as if I had ordered it up myself.  A beautiful day as the sunlight danced on the water. This was a totally stress free luncheon, and we still had a wonderful time.

Is there anything more fun than a picnic?

You'll have to excuse the quality of the pictures. These were taken way before I ever thought I would be putting my pictures out into the blogosphere. But I just wanted to share this fun day.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

~Lunch With Jane~

Austen that is. BFF Gail and I are huge Jane Austen fans. It seemed only fitting that I find a way to weave that into a luncheon theme. Pride and Prejudice is our all time favorite ( the classic A&E version with Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle, of course) Colin Firth is the quintessential Darcy. And NO ONE else has come close.

So we're off to Pemberly for lunch.

The invitation sets the tone

"Don't let your Pride or Prejudice
Keep you from attending the annual luncheon"

The tablescape colors were all creams and golds.

Including the menu card where each course was named after a P& P character

As you can see Jane joined us for lunch, quill in hand. No doubt eavesdropping on our conversation and taking copious notes for her next novel of characters.

The centerpiece was a large cake platter with a ring of white roses and some faux picks mixed in. The pride of place in the centerpiece was a beautiful paper lantern that looked like a Regency Ballroom lit up with candlelight from within. You half expect to see Darcy and Miss Bennett swirling to the music when you peek through the windows.

Soup served in gold goblets.

Lots of laughter over a leisurely lunch, with a best friend. Life doesn't get much better.

After lunch we enjoyed testing our P&P knowledge with this charming game. The object of the game is to survive all the roadblocks thrown at you and ....get married of course!!

I think Jane would find it amusing.

Please feel free to leave a comment and let me know what you think. It's nice to know I'm not just whistling in the dark.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

~The Girlfriends Luncheon~

I have a little tradition of throwing a 'Girlfriends Luncheon'. The only thing is, for this particularly named soiree', I only have one invitee, my BFF, Gail. I start gathering ideas for the theme months in advance, as planning is half the fun. As you can see, the theme for this last luncheon was 'An Olde English Library'. The invitation was a quote from Longfellow, with a little twist from moi.
"Give me sequestered nooks and the sweet serenity of books. And a little soup and sandwich wouldn't hurt either."

For the tablescape I wanted the colors to be rich and dark. My inspiration was this beautiful paisley scarf that I decided to use as a table runner.

Pages copied from an old book tied up with a lovely copper colored ribbon served as napkin rings.

At the Dressed Up Cottage, you use what you have. The fun is in finding new and interesting ways to use everyday objects.

I found this adorable library card template, which I used as the menu card.  Naming each course after one of Shakespeare's works.

Sir William surveying his stage.

Yellow roses nestled in a faux wooden book.

The rich jewel tones of the runner are echoed in the velvet lining of the wooden book

Gail is such an appreciative audience for all my silliness. She adores all the attention to detail and makes all my effort worth while. So I am busy planning the next luncheon, as we speak.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

~In the beginning~

Houston we have lift off.

After getting so much enjoyment out of reading other people's blogs, I have decided to launch my own little attempt. I shall just be dipping my toe into the water at first. I have much to learn of course, but I make no pretense that this is anything other than a fun little outlet for my design creativity. My silly ramblings and musings, really just an online journal of sorts in regards to home design and food....and perhaps any other silly thing that pops into my head. Join me won't you?