Magical Summer Evening Entertaining Out-of-Doors in the Garden…

Entertaining out-of-doors in summer is one of the best things about summertime! Here in the DFW area of Texas, nights  cool off into the 80’s and are perfect for having friends and family over for cookouts, pizza pies baked in outdoor ovens, and for toasting marshmallows over campfires. On this night, our library table was brought from inside and set with dining ease in mind…

You may recall that earlier this summer I shared this post about easy party ideas as part of a Pinterest Challenge. This tablescape was fun to photograph as I went for simplicity with just a few snacks, just a few items on the dining table, and a simple pot of flowers plopped on the table, straight from the nursery. 

Simple chargers made of painted tin add their elegance underneath festive paper plates. And those plates cost $2.99 for a pack of 24, I think. Perfect for outdoor entertaining with kids or adults! Cloth napkins and real water glasses were the only “upgrades” here.

Lighting is simple with the addition of Edison lights strung together and zip-tied to tree limbs, a couple of tealights on the table and a few candles in metal holders in the garden flowerbed nearby…

*Special note: make sure to square knot each connection from one light string to the next. I didn’t do that at first, and the long swag from tree to tree came undone… I had to replace six lightbulbs and it was good that each of the sets came with extras!

Sorry about the soft blur in some of these photographs… My camera is just a basic DSLR and not really meant for low light. I hope to upgrade one of these days. 

I like how these pics came out anyhow. The candlelight in these outdoor stands is magical… 💝

Soft and romantic, the addition of a couple of indoor chairs combined with the French café chairs makes for a nice combination. 

A nice contrast ~ wide -vs- narrow view
We had just had a hard summer rain so the limestone bricks are in their usual muddy state but this just adds to the casual garden scene. Our plans include putting in artificial turf back here where grass doesn’t grow well below the shade provided by these two oak trees with pavers staggered between the real and artificial grasses.

Framing the view

The central bed of boxwood and holly balls are filling in nicely with the addition of this spring’s transplanted iris. I plan to add in more annuals for color next spring. 

I love looking back on the house and it looks particularly pretty at night! I think when all the pavers are set for potted areas and more plants are brought in, and the sprinklers are converted from tall park-style sprayers for watering grass to lines of drip irrigation for garden beds, this will be especially nice for entertaining… and it will be easier and mean less hand-watering.

This year our visits have been just a few friends stopping by to switch-out borrowed books or for me to sign a check for our philanthropic group (IOOF). Next year as vaccines become available we hope to have friends over a lot more often. 

My favorite photograph… Still love the Martha Stewart pale yellow linen drapery fabric used to create these chair cushions. These cushions are reversible with a deep red paisley on the other side. I made them with summer and winter in mind.

Tonight’s virtual visit will have to do for now… 🙂 Enjoy the rest of your summer! I felt the first kiss of fall this week with a 66 degree morning… 

Happy summer evenings, friends!

An Easy Peasy Lemony Table Styling

Welcome to this month’s Pinterest Challenge where Cindy of County Road 407 selects a photo each month from Pinterest for a group of friends to take and create something of our own. This month it’s all about Lemons!!! 

Our inspiration photograph this month is from the wonderful writer Mary of Home Is Where the Boat Is.  All lemony goodness! If you haven’t ever been by to visit Mary’s blog, the garden behind her houseboat is beautiful plus she and her husband recently built a greenhouse that sets just perfectly into her yard overlooking the water. She also has the sweetest poodle pups… but I digress! 💛😊

If you are just coming over from Carol at Bluesky at Home, welcome! I am so glad you are here. And a hearty welcome to all my friends who’ve hopped over today as well! Wasn’t Carol’s citrusy centerpiece beautiful!

Well, friends, for me summer is all about decorating and entertaining in a way that’s easy and quick, and this post shares just that. A table that is easy to put together and a centerpiece that just says summertime.

Our inspiration piece standouts

  • lemon slices in a vase (of course!)

  • beautiful glassware for a hidden inner and an outer vase
  • lemon-decorated plates for serving
  • fun coordinating napkins
  • a bouquet of flowers with lemon picks poking out here and there
  • lots of yellow and natural decor including seagrass placemats

I began my table with a quick trip over to HomeGoods (not sponsored) where I found these larger botanical lemon teacups with saucers and also these fun lemon-covered paper napkins. 

There were many lemon choices available 

There were a ton of lemon decorated pieces in this season’s summer tableware: melamine plates, ceramic salad bowls, and more. I chose these large teacups to bring in the lemon theme because tea and tea parties are my thing. 

Problems I encountered 

1. Our weather has been super hot these past two weeks so please forgive these poor flowers… They are trying their hardest to look pretty for you!

2. Floating lemons is a trick I have never done before. You need way more lemon slices than you think you would. I had two lemons on hand and that’s what are sandwiched between an inner glass holding the flowers and the outer vase. So I will probably reshoot some photos for you… 🍋

3. The second photo shoot worked way better! Seven lemons and really packing them in is the trick, folks! 

First photoshoot
2nd photo shoot

First photoshoot ~ definitely needed more lemons! This sweet bee hive teapot came from my husband’s aunt’s collection of tableware. I inherited it after Aunt Doris passed away ~ a lovely gift! 🐝

My table’s takeaway

  • A country checked placemat with “together at home” written on it. 
  • pretty florals with lemons floating in a vase within a vase
  • tableware with pale lemon yellows as my main color
  • lemon macaroons served for a light dessert
  • tea served from a beehive teapot decorated with a couple of friendly bumble bees

And you get a double lemony post with two table stylings! I like them both but the second really shows off the centerpiece, which speaks to today’s challenge… How could we take the inspiration photograph and make it ours? 

Just like this: a bit of tropical florals and lemons… Amazing how just a weekend being in cool indoors and a recutting of stems perks up a bouquet of simple grocery store flowers… 

Thank you for visiting today!  

Next up on our lemony centerpiece tour is Michelle at Thistle Key Lane. I know you will love what she has for you!! If you are visiting everyone in order, all the links are here. Easy peasy, we try to make it easy! 

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A Rosy Valentine’s Tea…

Valentine’s Day is  one day away and with last month’s illness I have been behind in sharing with you, but today we catch up a bit with our dining room table set for a Valentine’s tea…

Valentine’s Day is my second favorite holiday after Christmas and I thought I’d begin this tea with a look at our hutch. I just love decorating our white china hutch with tea sets, favorite romantic cards, and various plates and platters. 

This year I have the pinkish-red transferware I found down in Frisco, Texas set throughout the hutch. The pretty florals and farm scene of each transferware piece really sets off the white of the hutch. I love how it sets off everything else around it, too!

Over the weekend I baked some scones to take to the Napoleon and Josephine Regency tea at friend Laura’s home. These few were leftover and Mr. Ethereal and I have been munching on them throughout the week.

Our tender plants come indoors when the temperature dips to 32 degrees and below, and this Valentines week has been COLD! Northern winds have swept into North Texas but inside it is nice and toasty. 

This weather is perfect for wearing warm pink and red sweaters for a “Valentinesy” feel and for enjoying visits with friends. Welcome! Please come sit down… 

Our local Winco grocery store had these lovely roses on sale so I brought home a bunch, trimmed them to fit this Old Country Roses pitcher and added some green fronds from the mini palm tree we have. A little floppy and loose I love the dark and light pinks of these tea roses!

Teatime is always a staple here at Chapman Manor and for this tea I’ve taken out the two leaves I usually have in our antique oak dining room table. For my birthday years ago, my father-in-law made two more 11″ leaves so this table can seat 10 – 12 comfortably and grows to 102″. In its 55″ square configuration, it is the perfect size for intimate conversation among friends. Perfect for our rosy virtual tea! 

Vintage French Limoge, Austrian and German tableware grace this table along with modern and vintage teacups and saucers. The blue plate underneath the scones is French and very old. I found it while thrift-shopping a year ago or so for $4.00 ~ it is a lovely flow blue.

The tablecloth is the same one I used in a story my first Valentine’s Day blogging.  In that post I had our two little Staffordshire dogs up in the hutch. I love the bright white California light we had there at that home! (This reminds me I should change out the lights in the chandelier here as these have a yellow cast. Amazing the difference…)

Love this card I found years ago mounted in this frame! The
hand-painted bowl above was a gift from a friend; her mother
painted it back in the early 1900’s.

On my agenda for this year is repainting the dining room and kitchen a pale grey or a white. What color do you think I should paint in here? This tan color is just not me…

I thought about painting these walls a pale aqua or pale blue, really a tinted white hue. I think that would be very pretty and would help brighten up this space. Maybe a white above the chair rail and an aqua below?

Getting back to our tea… Looking back over to the china hutch, a pair of love birds nestle inside the framed door cubby. British royalty commemorative teacups sit on a Wedgwood Sarah’s Garden platter below. The wheat-backed scroll piece is part of the hutch and came with it ~ part of what I loved about this cabinet when I saw it in a shop in Temecula, California, called Enchanted Home.

Here is a better view of the whole china hutch. The transferware really stands out and complements this year’s Valentine’s Day tea table. I’ve also used the checkered napkins I sewed for last year’s table when we were still living in our trailer. 

These napkins are a good size and are perfect for picnics in summer, for use around Valentines (and in posts, of course!) and for Christmas time, even, with their red and white checks. I bought a yard+ and made eight 12″ napkins and they have been used a lot. They are the perfect size for luncheons and tea time!

A couple last looks at this Valentine’s table set for our tea… I realized late that I had teacups set out but no teapot. A small faux pas! Here is the fix with a pretty sugar bowl, too.

Much better!

Let’s enjoy our teatime together ~ lemon curd is always on the menu and perfect spooned onto our scones…

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Happy Valentine’s Day to you,
dear friends,

A Little Fall Decor Past and Present…

Fall is really my absolute favorite time of the year with its brilliant colors inspired by nature itself. Over the years I have added to my fall decor some soft velvet pumpkins, sewed a few French toile red and aqua pumpkins for friends and one for myself, and this year I added a few black and white buffalo checked ones.

Let’s reminisce, shall we and see how we can reuse some of this older decor?…

Two years ago while we were still in our Prairie Home we had real and faux Cinderella pumpkins in pale tangerine, blush and celery to decorate our RV’s main dining area window.  I love our new home but I do miss this window as it was perfect for its small vignettes!

Outdoor dining was fun at the RV park too with pansies and pumpkins and fun mismatched china

At our Big House Wedgwood’s Sarah’s Garden tea set made its debut in the fall of 2014 where I shared a visit to meet the current Duchess of York.

A recent Pinterest Challenge celebrated dining outdoors and my first set of china by Villeroy and Boch came outside to grace our new patio.

Oddly enough I have been really missing the trailer lately! I stopped by and checked on it this past week since I was up in Sanger, TX picking up more stones for the backyard garden. 

A man was there winterizing another trailer for a client and asked if we might need ours done. Knowing that yes it did need to have all its hoses and the refrigerator filter drained he charged a nominal fee and took care of that for me. I stopped by Friday afternoon and locked the trailer back up and folded up the steps and called it good!

This little bouquet believe it or not holds the last mums from a bouquet my husband picked up for our anniversary last month. I cannot believe these flowers have lasted so long! I just plucked out the bright green mums and recut them once again and put them in a fresh container. Mr. Ethereal certainly got his money’s worth with this fall bouquet!

The living room looks much as it has all fall but I am just beginning to make some changes for Christmas…

Decorating central with elves in force will be happening this week with our daughter coming up for a Thanksgiving visit! (Always a little chaotic and mixed up living the blogger’s life, as many of you know.)

Enjoy this little visit,

An Ethereal Thankgiving Table

Welcome to this month’s Pinterest Challenge where a group  of designer friends get together each month to share our takes on a Pinterest photograph picked out by Cindy of County Road 407. Thank you Cindy for another great Pinterest Challenge!!! 

Let’s check out what all of our PC party goers have for us this month, shall we?

Welcome  everyone, and if you are just coming over from my friend Carol at Bluesky at Home and this is your first visit to French Ethereal, a hearty welcome to you!!! I always love what Carol comes up with and I know her table is set beautifully. 

Our Pinterest Challenge inspiration piece this month comes from a blogger designer Cindy knows. Lindsey Brunk’s Simple and Elegant Thanksgiving Inspiration brings us much elegance on a quiet budget. Follow the linked post title back to see her romantic ethereal table and more.


What Lindsey used for her Thanksgiving table

  • a floor length black tablecloth (sheet)

  • store bought garland of eucalyptus and copper sprayed leaves
  • red mums and small berries spray painted copper
  • dark grey charger and dinner plate with a white napkin draped down between
  • a special Thanksgiving note atop the dinner plate

Because our inspiration photograph showed only a place setting of copper knife, fork and spoon atop a white vintage napkin, basically we had free range to arrange our Thanksgiving tables however we wanted! 

What I came up with for our Thanksgiving table

I noticed the copper silverware right away* and I’d love to get some but it isn’t in the budget just now. But touches of black from the tablecloth I do have!

This black and gold paisley runner I found at HomeGoods probably five years ago now. I love it and it serves two purposes here ~ one as a table runner but also as a visual draping like in Lindsey’s other photographs. I have a couple of napkins and various kitchen hand towels which would have worked for draping as long napkins but none were plain. So that nixed it for me.

*an oxymoron, I know, lol! 

Can you spot Mr. Turkey??

Copper touches and natural elements

The inspiration photo shared a small piece of wheat at each placesetting and various copper tinted foliage. I don’t have any wheat but coppery-gold faux pumpkins and gourds I do have! Acorns are falling off of our oak trees outside so they replace the wheat in sharing our harvest with friends and family.

I also added in a small pinecone turkey my daughter made in elementary school 20+ years ago now. Adding personal touches to our home decor and our tablescapes is another way of telling our family and friends how much we love them.

The brown and cream linen checked napkins were found last year in Minnesota when we went up to visit our son and daughter-in-law in South Dakota. We visited the Mall of America and an apple tree orchard while there. The mall is only four hours from their home (they go a couple of times a year to shop) and the napkins were found there at Nordstrom’s.

These checked napkins were on clearance for $40 total, I think. Similar ones with just a border are $100 for four on their website right now, so these were a bargain! Yessssss!!!! 

I do like shopping at Nordstrom especially at their Black Friday and After-Christmas sales. My personal little time to splurge and look for gifts for family and friends.

Our anniversary was just a week or so ago and my inlaws sent us this arrangement which was perfect to feature with its fall colors in this Thanksgiving tablescape!

I have several plates which could work here but I felt the lovely brown winter plates were best. Snow is just beginning to fall in the midwestern states and these Johnson Bros. Friendly Village set can be used here for Thanksgiving and again at Christmas. With a simple swap of a fall bouquet to one with little red berries and white mums this ethereal tablesetting easily transitions for the holidays.

Thank you for stopping by today and please be sure to leave me a comment or two. If you like what you see here, please sign up to follow my blog. I appreciate you! 

Now let’s visit Chrissy at First Day of Home’s A Simple Elegant Thanksgiving and check out her lovely take on today’s Pinterest Challenge Thanksgiving idea! 

The links are here if you’d like to follow all of us in order and do come back and begin again when needed. Every post has quick links to take you from post to post.

***Terrie’s post link wasn’t quite right so here is her corrected permalink for you ~ My Simple Thanksgiving Table at Decorate and More With Tip

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Blessings to you,

Two Fall Table Vignettes to Copy…

Sweet fall  inspired vignettes are fun to create and easy to do with just a few simple items. Come along and let’s create a couple of table vignettes using a few key fall pieces…

I was going for a moody look here ~ love the pumpkins atop this small table quilt!

Fall decorations you’ll need:

* pumpkins ~ real and faux in your favorite colors. Here I’ve used small real creme Baby Boo pumpkins combined with soft velvet pumpkins bought a few years ago at an after-Halloween clearance. The b/w checked pumpkins are new this year from the dollar area at Target.

* candles ~ candles add a warmth which can’t be found any other way. Even unlit they add their lovely fall color to the decor.

* throw or basket ~ place a quilt, a couple of table runners or a pretty basket or wooden tray on your table to set the scene and to corral your pumpkins.

* decorative ribbon ~ wrap a stack of Cinderella and Baby boo pumpkins with pretty French wired ribbon. Festive for fall the black and white checks bring a sophistication to the table.

Our table’s second look:

For the second fall table vignette the pumpkins are left unstacked and several more velvet pumpkins have been added. The black and white checked French wired ribbon and  pumpkins have been removed and just the mini quilt remain.

This simple look can be dressed up for evening…

* Pumpkins Scatter an odd amount of pumpkins around the large ones.

* Lighted candles ~ use an odd number of candleholders and place them among the real and faux gourds.

And that’s all there is to set a beautiful fall table vignette in your own home!

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Thanks so much, April!

Happy fall, y’all,

A Downton Abbey Inspired Fall Table ~ Pinterest Challenge

Welcome to  September’s Pinterest Challenge hosted by my friend Cindy of County Road 407  and if you are new to my blog French Ethereal, a hearty welcome to you! For all of my friends and for everyone stopping by from Carol at Bluesky at Home 
I am glad you are here! 

With the release of Downton Abbey in theatres this month I was inspired to share an outdoor table befitting the king and queen! Come, let’s go in (or out!), shall we?…

Lord and Lady Ethereal looking dapper this weekend.
This lady forgot her gloves at home… 🙁

My Downton Abbey table setting  grew quickly with the coming of the movie and it’s lovely trailer…

All month long I have been working on getting ready for a Downton Abbey-themed weekend meeting that I became the chairperson for a year ago. With this I have been sewing a 1920’s style dress and then thinking about how I wanted to set an outdoor table for this month’s challenge.

Our Pinterest Challenge this month is a lovely fall outdoor table and patio set for a party by Beth of Home Stories A to Z entitled Affordable Fall Decor: 6 Tips for Southern Outdoor Patio Decorating and Entertaining. Beth is new to me as a blogger however Cindy has been friends with her for a while.

Beth’s style is sleek and elegant…

Elements used in this table setting

Thin log cuts were used as chargers along with woven golden grass ones on her blond pine picnic table. Wide striped napkins were used as placemats to bring another element of texture to this table setting. 

A stunning autumnal flower arrangement set off this table setting beautifully! Copper mugs, pale Baby Boos and other lightly striped pumpkins complete this table’s quiet fall look. A tin washtub used as a tray gather all of these elements nicely together ~ similar to last month’s coffee table Pinterest Challenge.

My table’s style elements

For our lord and lady’s alfresco luncheon this table is laid with a fall picnic blanket tablecloth. White ironstone plates act as chargers beneath smaller pumpkin dessert plates. 

This table setting called for a smaller bouquet than the inspiration piece and I went with a decidedly fall theme of orange chrysanthemums mixed with purple-lavender thistles.

I do not have any copper pieces so I continued my ironstone look with a white pitcher used as a vase and this coffee set of Villeroy and Boch Botanica china. Earlier this year the patio was set with a patriotic theme.

Pumpkin spice cake and the fall colors in the tablecloth lend their coppery color to this autumn vignette. Baby boo pumpkins and a small white ramekin of freshly collected acorns off the backyard oak trees lend their bit of nature to this scene.

The sun was peeking in and out as I took these photographs for you!
The calendar says it is fall however the Texas heat is still on for a while and our plants are a bit worn from the summer. Decidedly not Downton Abbey-worthy but coming cool weather and a gentle clipping will make them worthy of Cousin Violet’s garden show again!

Couldn’t you see the Dowager Countess Violet Crawley and Cousin Isobel Crawley coming outside to partake in this alfresco scene? The picnic blanket’s plaid is a nod to the family’s Scottish heritage (and mine).
Thank you for stopping by today! I hope you’ve enjoyed this alfresco fall table and if you are following the tour Cindy is up next from County Road 407 sharing her lovely outdoor table setting. I know you will enjoy her post!! I encourage you to visit all of my friends on today’s tour and feel free to stop back by to continue the tour as needed. 

Enjoy the tour!

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Don’t Mince if It’s Chintz!

Chintzware is having a huge resurgence in popularity just as it did in the very late 1990’s and into the 2000’s. Hugely popular when chintzware first was produced in English potteries from the late 19th century into the early 1900’s through the 1940’s, chintz became popular all over again. I had already found a few chintz transferware pieces while out visiting antiques malls with my friends in California, so I too was swept along in the craze… 
Do you remember an issue of Victoria Magazine’s back in the 1990’s sharing Rob Lowe’s former wife’s chintz collection?? She had an enormous collection of chintzware that I would drool over and it has been a favorite of mine to collect ever since…

This sweet teacup set  I ordered online from a lady in Washington and it is a
Royal Albert Crown China piece from around the 1920’s or 1930’s. The name of this pattern isn’t stamped on the back like other potteries did back then (denoting that it is an early piece from possibly even before 1901, the year potteries were required to begin production stamps per country).
My guess is it is a version of “Summertime” originally produced by Royal Winton and it came in different background colour-ways. 
When English chintzware was first offered by the potteries located in the Stoke-on-Trent area north of London, the demand for all things chintz absolutely skyrocketed across the United Kingdom, the Continent, Australia and especially here in America! Transferware had been around for about 60 years at that point but these all-over floral china pieces were something entirely new and fresh.  
Here is a photograph I took at our last home sharing our corner-round display cupboard. It held curios when I first bought this piece but later it became a china cabinet of sorts holding teacups and other china, which it has held now for years!
And here is a look at this teacup curio now here in Texas…

A tall stack of teacups with three chintz teacups in view

Top left – an unmarked teacup (possibly Eastern European or from Japan, 1950’s) with pink roses and vines which is part of a luncheon set including a cup and scallop-shaped sandwich plate with indent to hold the cup. These luncheon sets were popular in the 1940’s and 1950’s for serving guests at home and at events. Often these luncheon sets are found in more of a clear or colored carnival glass rather than chintzware like this one is.
Back bottom Royal Winton’s reproduction of its original “Welbeck” tableware which is so pretty with its yellow background, sprigs of realistic dark pink roses, blue forget-me-nots with pink tulips and yellow daffodils.
This set was produced in 1995 when chintzware had its second wave of popularity (due in large part to Victoria’s chintz publications). Still a favorite and yes! you can drink out of these as long as their are no interior cracks in the glaze.
Top right front Royal Albert’s Old Country Roses 1999 teacup and saucer with gilding on the teacup’s handle, rim and footed bottom as well as along the saucer’s rim.
Here is the luncheon plate leaning against the curio cupboard’s back glass. My best friend Janet gave me this set back in the early 2000’s for my birthday. She found it an an antique mall in Roseville, California.
Decorate Your Coffee Table for Fall
Here I’ve paired Royal Winton’s “Welbeck” teapot with three other transferware decorated styles for a late summer-early fall look. “Welbeck” is the yellow background version of “Summertime,” the same floral chintz on a creamy white background.
This Arthur Wood and Son modern teapot was a gift from the ladies in my tea group from the Victorian Tea Society in California after we moved into our last home. I practically killed myself painting that long living room wall a blue-green (photo below), unpacking every box downstairs, and then hosting a tea just three weeks after we moved into the Big House in the spring of 2004. (Which meant cleaning the downstairs like a mad woman before the tea!). Good thing I was young then!

I love that the ladies thought to bring me this modern chintz teapot on its bright cheery pale aqua background as a house-warming gift!

I do miss the size of this living/dining room! We swapped the two once and it was sooo cozy for winter. Loved the blue-green of this wall!!
It was in use at a peacock tea I had 10 years later when I first started my blog in 2014 (I know this as my phone and instamatic cameras never took photographs this clear! Plus I had painted these chairs by then.).
The tablecloth I found in England in 2005 when I went to visit my brother and his family there. Linnea and I would leave the kids home and go thrift-shopping around Sawtry, where they lived, and to antiques stores for a couple of hours. The kids just wanted to stay and play and were plenty old enough to be on their own then. This was one of the pretties I brought home from that trip.
Here in this home chintzware is having another heyday and afternoon sunlight just brings out each piece’s beauty even more!
A study in b & w.
~ Sparkle!!! ~
One of my other sisters-in-law Kim bought this dark pink chintz one-cup pour-over for me for Christmas one year.  Perfect for carrying on a small tray to take tea into another room in the house or out-of-doors, it is a fun functional piece!
Anyone for tea?
Here is the “Summertime” teapot by House of Claridge. In the 1990’s, Gail Claridge created The House of Claridge and asked Royal Winton to reproduce their vintage chintzware prints in new china styles that she designed.
Did you spot the oops?
I joined an online email chat group from England back then which produced a newsletter for chintzware lovers. Emailing members and learning about the history of different and rare pieces of chintzware, transferware in general and just reading those newsletters was a lot of fun!
Any shares would be most appreciated!
If you’d like to check out some of my other posts on china patterns and the like, you might like these here and here.
One of my earliest tea posts written five years ago sharing about meeting the Duchess of York, Sarah Ferguson at Macy’s and the teaset and tray my husband gifted me for Mother’s Day that year.
Glad you stopped by,
Barb 🙂

A Late Summer-Early Fall Table Styling…

I love late summer  when there is just the barest hint of a cool breeze during early morning walks ~ not quite enough to say that fall is coming tomorrow or the next day but enough to wish it were here sooner. This coming week’s Pinterest Challenge will be featuring a late summer-early fall inspired post so I thought I’d share this lead-up post with you today…

I was inspired by the stuffed birds both Presidents Roosevelt collected when they were boys.  President Theodore Roosevelt shot hundreds of birds in the late 19th and early 20th centuries and then performed taxidermy on them himself. He was quite the collector and naturalist, as evident by the hundreds of big game trophies he shot throughout his lifetime, while his cousin President Franklin D. Roosevelt shot a number of birds but had them stuffed by someone else. Both enjoyed bird watching and studying each species they collected, which was quite a hobby back in the Victorian era.

Now I don’t like the idea of killing innocent birds but I do enjoy studying birds and had two cockatiels in our house as my children were growing up. I have quite a few carved and ceramic birds plus many others which I’ve used in my decorating.

Ken Burns: The Roosevelts - An Intimate History

The program I have been watching on Netflix is called: The Roosevelts ~ An Intimate History. Ken Burns wrote and directed this series of films and it is very good! If you like biographies and history, do check this program out; I am confident you will enjoy watching it.

A small collection of two owl feathers and one large crow
feather. The latter is suitable for cutting into a pen.

Here’s how to create a natural tablescape of your own:

Collect found bird feathers each time you are out in local parks, on hiking trails or in your own backyard. Clean them carefully of any bird droppings, dirt or bugs and store in a dry spot until you are ready to use them in your decor.

For your table vignette, bring in those bird feathers and objects like a few gardening books, a flower press, anything wood like this candlestick and of course your bird sculptures.

Playing with the light meter, I wanted to capture the essence of an Old World table styling with nature in mind. Everything added to this scene looks like something you’d find in a naturalist’s hundred-year-old sketch book. 

The painted wooden candlestick base, the flower press with it’s corrugated cardboard and wood top and bottom pieces, and the goldfinch’s wood base set a warm scene atop the French style oak tabletop. All the wood elements bring in an early fall feel and the bird and feathers bring in nature.

I’ve also added a pair of freshly washed gardening gloves to the vignette as they were still indoors when I was setting up this tablescape. The two-tiered table server with birds on its handle was already on the library table as was the cut-glass candy dish filled with dried rose buds, another nod to our nature scene.

Looking out to our backyard from this window,  I am always watching the antics of house sparrows, mourning doves and cheery crimson cardinals eating from the bird feeder and from the spilled seeds on the ground below. 

I hope this tablescape inspires you to create a late summer or early-fall vignette of your own!

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Happy decorating,

Sunday Summer Supper + A Crockpot Recipe

Sunday dinner is my favorite mealtime of the week. It is when I prefer to cook a big meal with plenty of leftovers to eat throughout the week. Perfect for going back to school, perfect for workday lunches and also to have a few vegetable dishes already prepared to pair with chicken or a baked potato during the week. It isn’t anywhere near fall yet but it is high time for a good crockpot recipe!!!

We began our day with my mother’s favorite Fanny Farmer Baking Powder Biscuits that I cut into hearts, circles or any other shape depending upon the season. Today it was hearts.

*I looked for this recipe in my past recipes but I guess I’ve never shared this one. Will have to write it up for you!

My in-laws have been here for a week now and after breakfast we took a trip to the grocery. Later in the early afternoon, my mother-in-law Gini started a pot roast for dinner ~ always wonderful as she loves to cook.

Pete and Gini checking the roast for doneness at 6:30 last evening. The
scent spreading through the house was so delicious!

This is NOT a great shot of Mr. Ethereal’s parents but it’s candid and I like it.  I actually prefer to shoot photos of people where I capture them as they are and what they are doing…

Pete and I checked the pot an hour before… Here is my mother-in-law’s wonderful recipe:

Hawaiian Pot Roast

(1) chuck roast to fit your crockpot. 
Dust with flour, fresh ground pepper and place into the crockpot. Slice two medium onions and break apart the rings (or quarter the onions) and put on the roast and into the pot.


1 cup catsup/Ketchup
1 c. water
1/2 c. granulated sugar
3 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
2 Tbsp. each – soy sauce (reduced sodium is ok!) and Worcestershire sauce

Mix well and pour over the roast. Cook about 6 hours on low and it’ll be ready for dinner that night or 4 hours on high. Yum!

*Really this is a Hawaiian Short Rib recipe but my mother-in-law has adapted it to use with a roast. Can use English cut short ribs (Buy a brisket and cut your own ~ cheaper! You get a roast out of the center and the ribs off each end.) and place in a baking dish. 

Bake in the oven covered at 350 degrees F. for 2 hours. Same recipe is good with sauce thickened with just a little flour. Sauce also good over potatoes!

Yoda had been licking his lips for a couple of hours before the roast was ready. He enjoyed a small piece cut off one end and mixed with his kibble ~ serious yum!

My sweet baby…

This was an accidental picture of Yoda with my fingers in the shot so I cropped those out and saved this sweet blurred pup…

Then Mr. Ethereal snuck over to check out the fixings… I had him do a repeat so I could capture him!

We’ve enjoyed a busy week attending Odd Fellow and Rebekah’s events including a Law Enforcement dinner to honor local law enforcers for heroism and the 160th anniversary of Denton Lodge #82 this past Saturday.  

Having a nice quiet dinner was a nice way to unwind and begin a fun evening watching movies!

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Bon appetit, friends!