I’m thinking more about entertaining and beautiful dinnerware today (must be Jenn’s hostess blog!), and when to plan my next dinner party. In the summer, it seems life is one big corona and paper plate, but come Fall and Winter, tables (and people) dress up (at least here in New England) and the magical evenings spent with close friends gathered around a home cooked meal, polishing off a bottle of vino, are the times you want to decorate the table with class and style, yet somehow not crossing over the fine line into stuffy overdone boredom. You don’t want things too formal, because then people can’t relax. You also don’t want it so informal that it downplays your culinary expertise, especially when roasted duck and Cr?me Br?l?e are at stake.
Do you have any dinner party ideas for Fall? Want to gather friends to chat about the summer vacations you took? Planning to gather the family around for a big announcement? (tip: said announcement shouldn’t be about your sexuality, religion, or political leanings – dinner goes south in 2.3 seconds. keep all announcements based on babies, engagements and job promotions. got it?)
However you plan to entertain this Fall, start thinking about how you’d like to pull it all together. Do you have a theme or would you rather use your grandmother’s china in your cabinet and dress the table with white linens and fresh flowers?
How do you like to set your table?
(images from gracious style)
Williams Sonoma is like one big Real Simple magazine, great layout, modern, simple. So many beautiful things, mostly in solid hues, and many reminders that you’re no longer in your kitchen, but you’ve entered the store of chefs. The moment you step through the doors and browse the wares, you realize what a total amateur cook you really are, especially evident when you can’t figure out what half of the kitchen tools are used for. Selecting one, you ponder “hmmm… Could this be a meat thermometer?” Um, no it’s not m’dear, it’s a wine thermometer. Oh of course (ahem), what ever was I thinking (cough). Don’t worry little one. Half of the customers in Williams Sonoma eat out 75% of the week to and barely know how to operate their toaster oven. Oh, but one can dream of being the Iron Chef, and when browsing the merchandise, you almost feel like you can be. Williams Sonoma always makes me feel like uber wife. I walk out, merrily swinging my bag filled with dish towels, feeling realllly good about myself. Yeah, I’m the girl. I shop WS. I’m swimming with the sharks now, me and my dish towels.
You can be the girl (or boy), too. I’ve picked some of my favorites because well, at first glance, I know what to do with them. The latte mixing bowls in ice blue (I actually own these by another manufacturer in butter yellow and love them since they have a rubber grip on the bottom), pink rubber gloves because well, hello… they’re pink and not rubber ducky yellow for a change, super soaker kitchen towels in dreamy pastel colors, fun for your buns with these summer block print chair pads (major sale on these, also available in orange/pink), yummy caleca hand-painted dinnerware from Sicily (good to dine on, pretty to display on a white shelf), and finally the cornflower blue spatulas (on sale).
psst: I really like chef Tyler Florence from Food 911 on the food network. I watched him the other day for the first time and fell in love with his casual approach to cooking and his warm personality. I made the green goddess dressing a few days again (thanks to Tyler) and it was delish, you have to try it in a wrap, on a salad, or on a fish or crab sandwich. Super easy to make, too! Here’s the recipe.
(images from williams sonoma)
I spotted this website over on Renee’s blog, it’s a sweet little shop called Corolla Cream, featuring lots of vintage goodies for the home (and fashion accessories, too!). Browse their cute little site and I’m sure you’ll be a smitten kitten. Based in Kent England, the “CC Sisters” Sue and Jane, will ship within the UK free of charge, and for a small flat fee, they’ll ship to other European destinations as well as the USA, too.
Thanks Renee for the tip!
(images from corolla cream)
I couldn’t resist posting these fab faux bois smorgas-board plates from Pop Ink dinnerware in melamine in 4 different woodgrains. Set of 4/$40. These giraffe cards are so sweet, don’t you think? He looks very speedy. Set of 6/$13.
Looking for some hand-printed pillows with clean modern designs? Three Sheets 2 The Wind has pretty ones in linen or wool felt for $66-82/each. Elsewares carries everything from jewelry to dog dishes, many from individual artisans as well as manufacturers and vendors who respect worker rights and the environment. Good cause, good stuff. Give them a peek here.
(images from elsewares)
To auf or not to auf, that is the question… Alas, another episode of Project Runway has come and gone. Poor Bonnie (horrid design though). Keith with his crazy pattern books. Kayne the tattletale (although I think it was within his right). Robert and his fashion nightmare (puffy coat circa 1985). Laura with her potty mouth (she seemed so proper until last night). Michael my man (love him!). Vincent the adorable daddy (fun to watch him). Alison the adorable (she remains so calm and creative under fire and can I please order one of everything she wears?). Uli, Jeffrey, and Bradley – the quiet ones (at least this week).
All I can say is pattern books? What was he thinking?
in?spi?ra?tion – (nsp-rshn) n. 1. Stimulation of the mind or emotions to a high level of feeling or activity. 2. The condition of being so stimulated. 3. An agency, such as a person or work of art, that moves the intellect or emotions or prompts action or invention. 4. Something, such as a sudden creative act or idea, that is inspired. 5. The quality of inspiring or exalting: a painting full of inspiration. 6. Divine guidance or influence exerted directly on the mind and soul of humankind.
Inspiration. Sometimes all you need is to see something that completely captivates you, conjures up a memory, bestows you with feelings of joy, and viola! your creativity sweeps in, whisking you off your feet and planting you smack in the middle of that project you’ve been procrastinating, only this time, you’re wearing a smile because you have a fresh approach.
If you love photography, especially lifestyle photos that flutter you away to the land of exquisite things, you’ll fancy Amy Butler’s photos online, total viewing pleasure. (If Amy sounds familiar, I reviewed her new DIY sewing book yesterday.)
Textiles – whether in my hands or felt through the pages of magazines or images online, give me a sense of calm. Fresh flowers and chocolate help, too. (smile) What does it for you?
Psst: Check out Amy’s booth from the International Quilt Market – it’s drop dead beautiful! Amy and her husband amaze me, and they’re both so cute, too!
(images from amy butler designs)