Friday, July 31, 2009

Simplicity

Some things in life simply demand simplicity. Have a lovely weekend.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

French Country Style Table Linens

Peggy's little shop full of home essentials caught my eye yesterday while driving down Capital Hwy during my stay in Portland, OR. I knew I'd love it because just about everything French lined the walls and filled the tables. My senses were ignited with the beauty and color.

When I saw these beautiful table linens I knew I was in the right place and the sweet sales girl delightfully obliged my taking pictures of everything French in Peggy's French Shop.

I tend to be drawn to just about everything French and when I read the introduction in Caroline Clifton-Mogg book, French Country Living, I began to understand why.

Carolyn writes . . . There is an enormous charm in the distinctive decorative style inspired by the French countryside. The romantic landscape, with its small farms, sleepy manor houses, and narrow, medieval village houses, remains a vital part of French life, and the roots of most French people - whether their home is a rural retreat or a chick city apartment - lie firmly in the countryside.

She goes on to write . . . In attempting to define something as nebulous as the decorative aspects of French rural style, one realizes that at its heart is not so much a set of rules or dictums, but rather a feeling. A sense of natural comfort and elegance is found in every aspect of French country living - from the manner in which objects are arranged in the rooms to the way in which they are used. . .

There is a lack of clutter, but at the same time an all-encompassing visual feast . . .

Anyone who has acknowledged a wish for a tranquil environment, a need to be surrounded by natural things, a liking for soft tones, subdued shades, and natural materials is expressing a debt to the rural style of the French - for what you see on the surface is not the way it is; there is always a further layer, a hidden depth.


When I read that - my feminine soul whispers - "yes . . .yes. . . yes."

These beautiful table linens are just another aspect of the irresistible allure to things French for me. Most of my own table linens are of these French themes.


This is a just a dish towel. I'm thinking it'd be sweet as a table topper of a white linen table cloth and these flowers set in the center.

These chic French linens are collected from the heart of Provence by Bruno Lamy of Couleur Nature where they say "a beautifully set table is alluring and simply irresistible. The bountiful colors of natures brilliance cloak a table with artistic patterns and stylish grace; available in all collections with napkins and place mats to match."

For more beautiful table ideas, expressions of femininity and beauty do visit Between Naps on The Porch and the Inspired Room and Hooked on Houses.

Luscious Lemon Desserts

Tis the season to create and bake those luscious lemon deserts. My family enjoyed some French lemon tarts I made a few weeks ago and when I saw this book, yesterday at a cute little French shop in Portland, I knew I had to tell you all about it. It's available here.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

My Notebook on Vintage Finds

After we lingered in Provence yesterday, we made our way down to 32nd Street and Division where I heard about this super cool vintagey type shop. My eye quickly followed this shabby chic chair and my mind was trying to decide how I could get this find back to Arizona - in my suitcase or something. Any ideas?

Because I'm learning how great slip covers are, I checked to see if the print was just a slip cover - nope, but still a deal for only $75. Where would you put this chair, assuming it's a keeper?

What could you do with this chalkboard? Maybe something like Petite Provence did here?

Very cute - I think I'd paint it white and add a big pot of bright red geraniums in a big cobalt blue pot. What would you do?



This old rocker gave me an instant flashback to about thirty five years ago when I went dumpster diving. A jewel of a rocker needing a bit of work became my prized diving treasure. Even more so, the sweet memories of holding and rocking my baby girls in that old oak chair.






Definitely was drawn to this little whimsical chair.

Another flashback to the very very old oak table with green stenciling I recently sold on Craigs List. Still glad I did - except - um, maybe I should have kept it and painted it white?

My problem is -and probably yours too (?) is - where does one put all the "stuff?" Doesn't it often end up in a garage sale - again?

I always find any kind of glassware interesting - at least to look at.



Now, this is what I was really looking for! The little item marked $8. Years ago, I'd collected all sorts of very old kitchen items like the little egg beater. Many ended up in garage sales which, now I regret, that I didn't hold on to a few of those special pieces. Those old things are not only a piece of history, but useful and even practical in a French Country Kitchen.

I can't wait to get home so one little granddaughter, who helps me crack and whisk eggs for our weekly batch of Peach Pancakes can do the task with a piece of history!

Not only do I love the design around the edge of this plate and the $2 price, but it was the bottom that said, "Syracuse China" made in USA that made me think it a deal to pack in the suitcase to take back to Arizona. Don't you think my lemon tarts would look lovely on it?

I actually found a second smaller Syracuse China plate for $1.50. So, both will be carefully packed in my carry-on bound for Arizona. These two purchases weren't necessarily a total "deal" but since the plant has closed, perhaps one day they will have greater value. What's more important is the value for me - we'll enjoy them.


I think the price on this vintage food mill is fabulous. Have you priced them new lately? When DD (darling daughter) helped me reorganize my kitchen a few months ago, she wanted to toss mine. Not. Had I not already had one, this would have ended up in the suitcase as well.

If only. . . if only . . . if only. . . I had room. This vintage basket would be going home. I have just a perfect spot for it. In my garden, of course. Can you picture it with red or bright pink geraniums flowing out of it? Or how about a row of tea lights for a cool fall's evening dining outdoors?


Sweet glowing softness for a little girls pink bedroom, maybe?

Retro, do you think?

These silver plated candle holders were a steal. But, I just couldn't steal them.

I've been fascinated with beautiful things hanging from the ceiling and have a post in my heart to do on such lovely lights.

Do you think it works? What vintage finds have you discovered lately? Please feel free to post a link back to yours so we can share in the joy! Emma's got an Heirloom Party going on!
And Kimba's got some fabulous DIY projects!

The Notebook on Lemonade

One of the joys of summer time is to stop by a lemonade stand and enjoy fresh lemonade. This lemonade stand happened to be a little French lemonade stand with "unique" blends added to the lemonade. The owner is from France.



Take your pick. Which one?


We actually found it a bit difficult to choose.

Blueberry and strawberry ended up as our lemonade combo of choice.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Petite Provence

There are these little shops that make you think you've actually gone to Provence.

Today, we went to one.

And it was lovely with so many choices of brioche and lemon tarts, pear tarts, apricot tarts and croissants filled with strawberries and chocolate and all sorts of other sinful sweet things.

Made me feel a bit blurry with all the decisions.

Looking at them this way didn't help much . . . so, I decided that . . .

. . . looking at them this way might help. What do you think? Does it help you decide?

And, of course, all the normal cafe au lait type of French coffee things that I love to linger over.


Cherry anything is one of my favorites, so I decided to stop there - well, I did order a pear tart and then just a few minutes ago - I confess - I finished off a WHOLE - I'm talking WHOLE lemon tart. I bet you're wondering if it was as good as my lemon tarts?


So, you think this little granddaughter enjoyed her chocolate croissant?




After we filled ourselves with the sweet things. . . we went on a bike ride through the Provence country side. . . no just kidding. This picture was in the hall way just outside the ladies rest room.

What did you do today?

Something Pink

Why is it that little girls just love pink? The other day, DD (darling daughter) and I stopped in to view some model homes and this pink bedroom drew some "ahhhhhs" from two little granddaughters.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Portland's Mobile Food Gourmet Kitchens

Portland, Oregon is one of those cool, wild, unique, interesting and cutting edge food-y places that tend to leave you smiling and satisfied.

When I arrived Saturday, I was starving. My dd's (that'd be darling daughters) collaborated with some ideas of where "to take mom" for some lunch.

We'd intended to head directly to Sellwood, where my dd who lives here has enjoyed the wonderful food from one of these gypsy-looking carts but the first stop just had to be the pink panel truck loaded with Voo Doo Donut 'no-no's.

Since I've been enjoying some alfresco-ing lately and the idea of eating outside sounded great to me. And, this menu had me at "hello."

I'm not too fancy when it comes to food, and I was starving and didn't want to dissect the menu so I ordered the chicken salad sandwich.

I just had to take Kevin's picture. Can you see why? Kevin Sandri is the owner of Garden State cart. Who wouldn't want to eat food prepared by such a joyful guy?

DD ordered the chilled beet soup. She's more of a foodie connoisseur that I am. As for beets, even though I had a good little crop pop up in this springs garden - I'm still learning to "like" beets.




At this point one nine year old grandson asked to take some pictures. I always panic because I've done that in the past and one four year old granddaughter broke my camera. But, I figured - he's nine - so it should be OK.

I'm the kind of woman that believes it's good to stir up the creative juices in kids and when they take a camera or a paint brush you can discover so much more of what's inside. So, the photo directly above and the rest of them below are what he captured.



I especially like this picture. He set my little Canon point and shoot on its side and started shooting.

The "chicken salad sandwich." Excellent and I'd order it again.


This picture is amazing. Oldest grandson lined up the spoon, took one shot and voila! It's incredible. See what I mean? Give a kid a camera and see what they do.


Uh . . . here's his last shot. It's what he began to find interest in. We left shortly there after.