Friday, September 5, 2014

Stable to Workshop to Garage to Blue Transferware Dining Room & Almondina Cookie Giveaway!

Once upon a time there was a bungalow in the Berkeley flats that had behind it a stable which was constructed at the turn of the century.  From one owner to another and years upon years the stable was converted into a workshop and then to a car garage.  The structure  never dreamed it would one day be more than used for housing animals  then tools and then cars but it would be.  Someday, a dreamers dream would come to fruition and give the once stable a fairytale worthy existence. 

Step into this once neglected building given new life as a pink cottage dining room filled with blue transferware and chinoiserie and you will want to linger for as long as possible.



 This cottage style dining room was featured in House Beautiful  7 or 8 years ago.  The owner converted a stand alone garage in her back yard into a china lovers and interior design enthusiasts dining oasis!  

 Filled with blue transferware, flea market finds and heirloom furniture all painted white, it is the perfect spot to enjoy a cozy cup of tea and some Almondina cookies which is just what I'm doing as I write this post.  




 Original features of the structure included two sides of glass windows and a private courtyard garden to which it was connected.  The china cabinet belonged to the owners Mother and was handed down to her.  She painted it white along with most of the furniture with exception to the sideboard, leaving it as it was to add some weight to the room.   She had previously worked for Ralph Lauren and loved how he used an unexpected array of elements in his designs and did the very same thing by adding a sumptuous mix of china, crystal, silver, gold mirrors and gilt framed paintings.  It works beautifully!


Seeing this makes me want a blue and white room!  I'm in love, aren't you?  There is something about blue and white that is so compelling!





Now I have a sweet treat for one of my readers.  I was recently asked to review Almondina cookies and give a case of them away to one of you. I happily agreed.  Who doesn't love cookies?    Almondina is a perfect snack that is guilt free as there is no cholesterol, added fat, trans-fats, salt, or preservatives.  The crunchy, wafer like cookies have the texture of melba toast but these are slightly sweet.  Not too sweet at all but just enough to satisfy a sweet tooth, which I am guilty of having.  They come in a variety of flavors with a delicate hint of roasted almonds, chocolate, cherries, raisins and vanilla.  I am loving the Chocolate Cherry and snacking on them as I write.  mmmmmm.  I might need to open another package.





If you'd like a chance for a variety case of Almondina Cookies sent direct to your door, just leave a comment and you'll be entered.  Visit their website to see all of the flavors and options available.  I will use a random generator to select the winner next Saturday, September 13th and announce it here on my blog. 


P/S I almost forgot to announce the winner of the jewelry giveaway.  The winner is gadawn57  Please contact me asap with your choice!  I will contact you through your link as well.  Thank you to all who entered…and if still interested the costume jewelry is all 50% off on my site.  Just enter the code JEWELRY for the discount!


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Joining some of these parties:

Dedicated House  Wow Us Wednesday
Pink Saturday
Susan at Between Naps on The Porch
Charm of Home
Feathered Nest Friday at French Country Cottage
Cozy Little House
Cindy at My Romantic Home
French Inspiration Thursday 
Share the Love Wednesday
Farmhouse Friday
Funky Junk Interiors
Cedar Hill Farmhouse
Share It Sunday

Strut Your Stuff Saturday at Six Sisters Stuff 
Homemaking Linkup at Hope In Every Season 
Anything Goes Party at Bacon Time with the Hungry Hypo
Fridays Unfolded at Nancherrow

Thursday, September 4, 2014

An Apple Unpicked - Fall Tablescape & Giveaway




  

 I think that many people favor the time of year they were born and if that's the case, then it makes perfect sense that Fall should be my favorite season.  It is.


I have posted this table in the past but it remains one of my favorites and hints at my favorite season to come, which is Fall.  I can't wait for cooler weather and to listen to the wind rustling in the trees!  Wouldn't this be a great table set inside a big red barn with hay scattered all over the floor or hay bales as seats with the doors opened on either end, or even out in an apple orchard?  Speaking of apple orchards, you can read my depressing apple poem at the end of this post.  I wrote it in my mind while on a tractor ride through an apple orchard with, I think, Kalyn's kindergarten class many years ago.  




A big strip of burlap fabric makes a super simple and rustic long runner for the table.  It sets the whole mood of 'casual'.  I have set many tables with cloths that don't fully cover the table and leave some of the wood exposed.  I love this look. My table is worn and rugged but it did not start out that way.  I still run across this very table in magazines but it still looks brand new there.  I like that we've worn this baby in.  It looks like an antique now because it's been weathered naturally ( if you call a family of eight natural). 

Inexpensive dish towels were used in place of chargers or placemats.  They are tri-folded lengthwise and allowed to hang over the edge of the table. They help define each space.  I bought these at Tuesday Morning for only a few dollars per pack of six.  I now wish I'd purchased some of the other colors they had at the time; blue, green, and black.



I crumbled up a little Raffia at each place setting as I think it conjures up the image of hay, and I love the added texture.  This is easily removed before dinner as it may prove to be a little cumbersome to eat around (that's what Ashton thinks).

I began setting the table with these Royal Doulton plates...
 ...such a pretty pattern...
...with the sweetest little butterfly trying to hide amongst the fruits and flowers...
...and then I got to the last place setting only to realize I had seven plates, not eight.
Improv time.
Take away three of the Royal Doulton plates and bring in four of these Ridgway plates for a mixed table setting.  I like mixing it up anyway.
 Aren't these pretty?  I have one of each of the plates in my every day set of mix-n-match red transferware plates.  The rest of them are for sale in my online shop, Nancy's Daily Dish.


This one has a pretty border as well.

I chose to use my faux bamboo flatware (Horchow)

 and old fashioned, mock bubble glasses (Walmart).






Believe it or not I couldn't find one of my napkins either.  I mixed them up and then wound up finding the missing one...so you might notice this in some of the photos.  What's uniform is that I tied a few strands of hemp around each napkin instead of using napkin rings.  I love this stuff.  I've found so many uses for this as of late, including my demijohn project.


I've wanted to use these grapevine spheres as a centerpiece for a while now and this seemed a perfect match.  I scrunched up a gingham tablecloth, laid a leafy, fruity garland on top and then wedged the forms into the greenery so they would be stable and not roll around.  To further evoke the feeling of Fall, I placed a few apples here and there.  Simple centerpiece!  The grapevine balls  are from Hobby Lobby, and if I remember correctly, they are only $2-3 (when you buy them half off).  



Shawn remarked a couple of times about how much he liked this tablesetting.  I hope you all like it too!


An Apple Unpicked

I took ride upon the tractor,
Bushel at my breast
Through fields of amber,
Past the birds empty nest.

On through leaves of crimson,
I arrived to look down the lane
Where apples should be upon the trees-
But already had been slain

I could see no fruit was there,
Not one apple in the trees
I just stood...still, and quiet,
And listened to the buzzing bees

Never did I pluck from the tree
A singe fruit, round and red-
Only off the ground I lifted
An apple bruised and fallen dead.

Never I got what I thought,
To pick my apple from the tree-
To taste a bite, deliciously ripe-
The experience was not meant for me.

Nancy M Roberts ©2002



Also a little reminder that my jewelry giveaway ends tomorrow.  See my last post linked above and simply leave a comment on it to enter!  Lots of cute choices!

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Joining some of these parties:
Pink Saturday
Susan at Between Naps on The Porch
Charm of Home
Feathered Nest Friday at French Country Cottage
Cozy Little House
Cindy at My Romantic Home
French Inspiration Thursday
Share the Love Wednesday
Funky Junk Interiors
Cedar Hill Farmhouse
Share It Sunday
Strut Your Stuff Saturday at Six Sisters Stuff 
Homemaking Linkup at Hope In Every Season 
Anything Goes Party at Bacon Time with the Hungry Hypo
Fridays Unfolded at Nancherrow