Saturday, May 26, 2012

Book Club Dinner

I hosted our Book Club Dinner this week 
and I thought you might like to see the pictures...
Come along with me.

Dinner was served on the porch.
It was a perfect evening.  Not too hot, not too cold.
It was still daylight when my friends arrived
and the gardens around the porch were in full bloom.

 I am so grateful to have the kind of friends that appreciate 
the efforts we make for each other! 

These fabulous peonies are from my sweet, generous friend Alice, 
whose fantastic gardens will be the subject of an upcoming post.  
Thank you, Alice.  
These are beyond gorgeous!

I set the table with some spring green favorites.

I just picked up these Moss Green Seneca Driftwood tumblers
at the Kane County Flea market this month-
I needed them the instant I saw them and I got them for a song.
I had a very strong sense of deja vu about them
 and I am pretty sure we must have had these in our house growing up.  
Any of my bros remember these?

I absolutely love them.  
I loved everything about the 70's and these take me right back.

The sterling candle holders belonged to my Mom.  
They graced her dining room table for years.

The china was Mom's. too.  All Haviland and Limoges.
The white plates were her wedding pattern 
and the delicate green floral plates were her mother's.
Sometimes it's actually good to be the only daughter...

The menu was simple and all done ahead so I could enjoy the time with my guests.
Dessert was simple, too. Mandarin Brownies and Chewy Lemon Cookies.
The brownies are made from a mix, but I add a teaspoon of orange oil to them 
for a chocolate orange flavor - my all time favorite chocolate combo.
 I made the lemon cookies from a recipe I saw on a blog- they were deeelicious!
I will definitely make these again!

In this picture, you can see the honeysuckle vines climbing up the porch column on the far left.
They are in full bloom and very fragrant.

Here's the honeysuckle vine along the path.

Close up.

These are so intricate and so beautiful!

As the sun began to set, my friends clamored to use the remote to turn on the candles...
It's nice to have friends who are such faithful readers!

In summary:

It was a wonderful evening with great friends.
Thanks for joining me!

 Linking to:
Wow Us Wednesdays at Savvy Southern Style
Thursdays Are Your Days at 52 Mantels
Open House Party at No Minimalist Here
Mission Possible Great Outdoors Party at It all Started With Paint
Sunday Showcase Party at Under the Table and Dreaming
Treasure Hunt Thursday at From My Front Porch to Yours
Home and Garden Thursday at Delightsome Life
Tuesdays Treasures at My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia 
Transformation Thursdays at Shabby Creek Cottage 
{Living The Width} at TerpBlog 
Vintage Inspiration at Common Ground 
Cottage Garden Party at Fishtail Cottage 
Home Sweet Home at The Charm Of Home 
Time Travel Thursday at Brambleberry Cottage 
Feathered Nest Friday at French Country Cottage 
Inspiration Friday At The Picket Fence
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Sunday, May 20, 2012

Wedding Shower * Gift Ideas

Laura's getting married!

Aren't they a gorgeous couple?

I went to a Bridal Shower for Laura today and she was absolutely radiant! As always.
And the shower was lovely, hosted by some wonderful friends.

It has been delightful to watch Laura grow up,
from the cutest toddler you have ever seen, all gossamer hair and sparkling eyes,
to the lovely, gracious young lady above.
She is thoughtful, talented, optimistic and delightful.
She writes beautifully and you can see for yourself here, on her blog
I wanted to do something special for this amazing girl.

Laura's Mom told me that Laura loves Ranunculus flowers
and so I went with that theme for her card and some homemade wrapping paper.

Here's the card I made using a photo I took at The Chicago Botanic gardens this spring.

Then I printed the same photo out on regular 8.5" x 11" printer paper
to make matching wrapping paper for the little gift I had planned for Laura's Mom.

Then I made a little something special to embellish her gift.
I saw this idea on a blog somewhere, done as artwork for a wall, 
but I thought it would also work well in a smaller version for a gift tag 
that can double as an ornament for their first Christmas.... 

For practice, I made one using a photo of my own darling daughter 
back when she was a cherubic angel.
She's still my angel, but is heading off to college in the fall!
Don't get me started on how completely bereft I'll be when she goes...


This is a plain old glossy photo, 
just glued onto one of these mini canvases from Hobby Lobby...
Too easy.  You could do this with any photo.
It can stand on it's own, or hang on a very small wall!

 For this gift tag, though, I wanted a different look.

I deviously printed out copies of the engagement photos (above) from Laura's blog
and reduced them to the size of a little canvas.
I cut the photo to fit the canvas, just a bit smaller all around.

Then I used trusty Mod Podge to glue the photocopy to the canvas.
I brushed a coat onto the canvas first, applied the photo, and then put a coat on the photo.
I let the first coat dry and then applied another.

When the Mod Podge was dry, I glued some burlap ribbon around the edges.
I wrote a little message and inserted it in the back of the canvas.

An easy, personal gift tag and a nice little memento.

I made this one to give to Laura's Mom at the shower, 
because I know how much she misses and cherishes her angel. 

 I wrapped it in the Ranunculus paper and included it with Laura's gift,
so her Mom had a little something to open, too!

Happy Days.

Linking to:
Metamorphosis Monday at Between Naps on the Porch
Nifty Thrifty Sundays at Nifty Thrifty Things
Sunday Showcase Party at Under the Table and Dreaming
More the Merrier at DIY Home Sweet Home
CraftOManiac Monday at CraftOManiac
DIY Project Parade at DIY Showoff
Tuesdays Treasures at My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia
Get Your Craft On at Today's Creative Blog
Wow Us Wednesdays at Savvy Southern Style
Thursdays Are Your Days at 52 Mantels
Transformation Thursdays at Shabby Creek Cottage
Feathered Nest Friday at French Country Cottage
Inspiration Friday at the Picket Fence
Home Sweet Home Party at The Charm of Home
Creative Things Thursday at The Vintage Farmhouse
Show and Tell Friday at My Romantic Home
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Monday, May 14, 2012

Grand *Guest Room*

I found the perfect place to put the turquoise Tonka truck
 that I bought at the Kane County Flea Market!
The guest room in our house was the original inspiration for the aqua color scheme 
which then became the color scheme for our little cottage by the lake.
(Shameless self promotion alert!)
It looks so cute up in the guest room that I thought I would show it to you.

The guest room was added on a few years ago when we needed a room for the computers 
and an upstairs (not in the basement) laundry room.  
Mr. Grand calls that addition "the three story closet", 
because basically all we do is store mountains of stuff in the new basement, 
in the first floor closets and in the guest room closets.  
I have no idea where we used to store these things, 
or where all this extra stuff came from.

Anyway, here's the window seat
 between the two, stuffed-to-the-gills closets we have in the guest room.  
Hey, this just became a before and after post! 
Here is the before picture of the window seat:

And after the addition of the Tonka truck!

Here's a picture of the room I took while standing in one of the aforementioned closets.

As usual, it took me a few tries to get the right paint color.  
Have you ever seen the movie "Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House"? 
 Let's just say Mrs. Blandings and I both have strong feelings about the correct color.
I wanted aqua, not turquoise. I wanted it to be soft and soothing and spa like.
 It had to be pale, not minty, not too gray, not too green.
The third time was the charm.

We have some wonderful art work on the walls. 
The following three prints are from the Chicago World's Fair in 1893- The Columbian Exposition.
This was a fascinating event in the history of Chicago 
and I like to have some hometown things for our out of town guests to ponder.

This was "the Mining Building".

This is a view of the South End Wooded Island from the "Transportation Terrace".

The West Terrace from the "Court of the Obelisk".

Aren't these Grand?
They were truly architectural marvels at the time,
made from temporary materials like plaster and jute.

They hang over the piano, which we happen to "store" in the guest room
because it's on loan from friends until they can reclaim it.
Darling daughter practices her piano lessons up here...

The window treatments were made by my talented friend Patti,
out of matelasse bedspreads.
They already had the scallopy edges
and you know how much I like things to be scallopy!
(Also click here for more scallopy things.)
(And more shameless self promotion...)

This needlepoint pillow is a treasured heirloom,
stitched entirely by hand, by my sweet mother in law, Dottie.

I have always admired it and I was so honored when she offered it to me.

This little rocker also belonged to Miss Dottie when she was a child.
I recently had the rush seat restored, for another generation.

The painting on the wall hung in Mr. Grand's family home for many years.

It's very ethereal and mysterious and I love the colors.
Miss Dottie and I both love the aquas and greens and blues.

I tried the Tonka truck up on the dresser but it didn't really work
with the Wallace Nutting print, or the walnut dresser, both family heirlooms.

The dresser belonged to my Mom, and I love the color and the design.
Especially the smaller drawers and that little door to a cubby hole.
 Details like that remind me that I am not the first person to obsess about design.
Me and Steve Jobs. And probably you, too, since you read blogs!
I am in good company!

I fell for this bed at first sight.

It's from Ethan Allen, back in the days before they went modern.
 Here's a close up of the headboard cutout detail:

And the finials on the four poster bed:

I do love antiques, but I think beds and mattresses ought to be on the newer side!

This bed works so well with the family pieces
we have been blessed to receive.

Thanks for coming on the Grand Guest Room tour!

Linking to
Metamorphosis Monday at Between Naps on the Porch
Tuesdays Treasures at My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia
Show Me What Ya Got at Not Just a Housewife
Nifty Thrifty Tuesdays at Coastal Charm
Primp Your Stuff Wednesdays at Michele Raven Designs
Wow Us Wednesdays at Savvy Southern Style
Feathered Nest Friday at French Country Cottage
Inspiration Friday at The Picket Fence
Furniture Feature Friday at Miss Mustard Seed
Home Sweet Home Party at The Charm of Home
Vintage Inspiration at Common Ground
Show and Tell Friday at My Romantic Home
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Saturday, May 5, 2012

Candle Magic

I have some magical new candles!  

They are now lighting up our porch in the most enchanting way...
 and the best part is that they are flameless candles (battery operated)
 so there is no smoke, no mess, no fire risk.
I have four wonderful wrought iron hurricane candle holders out on the porch
and it is porch season...  
I used to have some pretty green wax pillar candles in the holders, but 
 -First World Problem Alert Here!-
 They were kind of a pain to light...


First you had to remove the rather fragile hurricane cylinders, 
light the candles and put the cylinders back on.  
Then you had to repeat the process to put them out, usually late at night, 
with possible wine induced unsteadiness.
And, again, there are four of them. 
The glass would get sooty from the candles, and fingerprints were visible too.  
So, I rarely lit them, but they sure looked pretty...  

I have been a fan of the flameless candles for a while, 
and I kept looking for green ones with a remote control to light them up.  
No luck on the green.
Mr. Grand, who can be quite ingenious, suggested that I get some white ones and paint them.
I ordered two sets of these from Amazon:

 I put them in the candle holders, and as you can clearly see, they needed to be made green again!
They just really did not show up against the white.

Time to get to work.
I didn't have the right color of spray paint, but I did have some pretty green cocktail napkins.  
I tried Mod Podging them onto a candle and - what a mess!  
Then I thought about buying some green spray paint, 
but worried that it would make the candles too opaque and the candlelight might not show.  
Then I thought of using some green vellum paper 
I had stashed away in my scrap booking pile.  


 I rolled each candle in a piece of vellum paper 
and put a tiny piece of tape on the seam so I could "scribe" the top edge.  
I just crushed the paper sharply along the top edge of the candle 
all the way around to mark a cutting line.  

Then I took the tape off, flattened the paper again and cut just a little bigger than the line.

 Then I trimmed very closely along the top edge of the candle.

 Then I taped the back with some of the new fancy scrap booking tape.  
Not a very good color match, but it's in the back and will never be seen.

Here's a candle with it's new green sleeve,
nicely transparent.

Here's one nestled in one of the iron holders.

 I could hardly wait for it to get dark that night.  
The candles were in place, and I squealed with delight, 
turning them on and off with the new little remote.  
It worked like a charm.  Easy Peasy!

 I think they look great!  
And I can change the color easily if I want to get fancy 
for the holidays or a party.

Thunderstorms were in the forecast, and Mother Nature delivered.  
It was a great show.

The candles flicker along with the lightning 
 and reflect off the windows, making it look like there are dozens of them.  
Very sparkly and charming.  

Mr. Grand thought it looked almost Church-like.  
He's so romantic.

Linking to:
Metamorphosis Monday at between Naps on the Porch
Open House Party at No Minimalist Here
Masterpiece Monday at Boogie Board Cottage
TableTop Tuesday at A Stroll through Life
Tutorials and Tips Link Party at Home Stories A to Z
Nifty Thrifty Tuesdays at Coastal Charm
Wow Us Wednesdays at Savvy Southern Style
May Before and After Party at Thrifty Decor Chick
Feather Your Nest Friday at  French Country Cottage
Inspiration Friday At The Picket Fence
Flaunt it Friday at Chic on a Shoestring
Tickled Pink Fridays at 504 Main
Frugal Friday at The Shabby Nest
Vintage Inspirations at Common Ground
Weekend Bloggy Reading at Serenity Now
Grace at Home at Imparting Grace
Creative Things Thursday at The Vintage Farmhouse
Time Travel Thursday at Brambleberry Cottage

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