Thursday, January 11, 2018

Fresh New Beginnings

January is a month of fresh beginnings.
I enjoy the sparseness of things after the tree is
down and other Christmas decorations 
are packed away till next December.

To start off the new year, I gave the buffet a simple 
vignette with a small painting, a touch of greens, and a
favorite MacKenzie-Childs vase filled with peonies. 

The vase is the Cheltenham Thistle Vase.
 It features sculptured thistle petals, hand-painted 
Courtly Checks and Stripes, and a base of faux marble.  
All of the work is done by talented artistans at 
MacKenzie-Childs in Aurora, New York.  
To create the faux marble, the artists paint with 
natural sea sponges and use a bird 
feather to create the veining.

Blush and pink peonies are the perfect mix
to give a nod to a fresh beginning.

Fluffy and full of fragrance, I was surprised to find
a bouquet of peonies available at the market.

Light and delicate, much like the
fresh feeling of a clean slate of the new year.

Here's to fresh beginnings!

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Baby, It's Cold Outside!

This post was originally created in 2013,
but considering the frigid temps that are gripping
many of us this first week of January, 
I'm taking the liberty to share it again.
I hope it will warm your spirits!
A special request of my readers,
I'm in search of more tartan dinner plates I used on this table.
They are Target's 2010 Classic Tidings.  
Please let me know if you have any you want to part with.

It's not snowing, but we are having a cold, grey January here.  
I wanted to set a cozy table to warm my spirits.
A friend traveled to Scotland this past summer, and knowing how I love all things tartan, she returned home with this wonderful wool tartan throw just for me.  For some reason it looks pink in this close up, but you can see on the table, it is actually a true red.  Just as a tartan should be! It's warm and cozy and a perfect table topper for a winter day.
The snowmen here at HFTS 
cozied up just for the occasion.

Several of my snowmen are the work 
of US artist Natalie Silitch from Annapolis.
This cute guy was a gift enclosed 
with my latest order from Timeless Charm Gifts.
Wouldn't these be cute used as place card holders?
Tartan and paisley have always been at the top of my list.
I especially like tartan dishes and 
love to mix the various tartans together.  
Just take a look at last year's 
Tartan Parade to see what I mean.
Occasionally I like to throw in some paisley too.
Snowy Smiles plates by Williraye Studio
are another little "pick me up" for winter days.
Who wouldn't begin to feel better 
just looking at their cute faces?
And did you notice, 
their black and white checked borders?
They were the stars of another winter tablescape here.
Vintage Mother of Pearl flatware 
reminds me of snowy days.
A touch of polka dots and green stems made from 
French wine bottles seem to fit right in.
Layers of Tartan, Paisley, 
and Black and White Checks
Oak Leaves and Acorns
I'm beginning to feel happier already!
What about you?

Don't pack away the snowmen 
with the Christmas decorations.  
Snowmen like to stay out to play all winter.  

I had already created my winter tablescape in this post before ironically being treated to a birthday lunch that featured this incredible winter wonderland centerpiece.  Much to my delight, this darling winter scene went home with me as a birthday gift.  I'm eager to feature this winter scene in a tablescape of my own sometime soon.

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Magical Memory Maker

I live in Austin, but it was Katie @ Preppy Empty Nester
who gave me a heads-up on this amazing venue
right here in downtown Austin.

 Kudos to the Weston Downtown Austin
for creating this life size gingerbread house as the perfect
spot for brunch with these two cuties.

 I arrived a few minutes early to add some special touches
to the table before the girls joined me.

The Weston had covered the tabletop with the perfect plaid
wrapping paper, black napkins, and white dishes.  I added
Courtly Check chargers, red gingham napkins with tartan napkin rings, a tabletop tree, and party treats as take home favors.

 A tabletop tree from Bethany Lowe was embellished with
Courtly Check glass balls, miniature lighted gingerbread houses, tiny tin hearts, Santas, snowmen, and candy canes.

It was three days to Christmas,
and the littles were filled with excitement.

I filled pink tins from Target's Dollar Spot
with candy for the girls to take home to enjoy later.

I also found the darling 2017 snow globe with the gingerbread
boy and girl at Target, a music box that plays Toy Land.

Special gingerbread cookies in a tin and gingerbread boy
and girl headbands were waiting at their spot.

 The little girls were beyond excited with 
all the sweets and the details of the gingerbread house.

Festive boxes of caramel treats and a
Starbucks gift card waited for the "older" girls.

We ordered off the brunch menu, 
and the food was delicious!

Curren, our waiter, was both attentive and engaged.
Outstanding service!!!  Thank you, Curren!

A big thank you to Weston Downtown Austin for offering this
creative venue that was perfect for making magical memories.

They say that the best gifts to give children 
are experiences that provide lasting memories.
In this day and time when many children have an abundance
 of toys, electronics, etc. it makes sense to give a gift 
that creates a magical memory for years to come.


Thursday, December 28, 2017

Fire Light, Twinkle Lights, and Warm Woolen Blankets

The post Christmas week is one of my favorites.
There is no rush to do much of anything.
It's a time to relax after the crush of holiday parties.
A time of leisure to enjoy quiet moments by the fire, to
treasure these last days of the glow from the 
tree lights and shiny ornaments, and to bask in the
splendor and joy of this beautiful holiday.

Our tree is a collected tree.  
The ornaments are ones acquired through the years,
some from our childhood trees, some from my single days.
others added through the 42 years of our marriage.

This "golden" duck wish bone with sequin details
was crafted by my mother-in-law and given 
to us for our first Christmas tree the year we married.
A bone saved from one of the Thanksgiving ducks were used
to make this "good luck" ornament for our tree.

Many have asked to see more details of our tree, 
so I've focused in on a few themes within 
the ornaments that hang on our Christmas tree.

If you follow my blog, 
you know of my passion for MacKenzie-Childs,
especially the brand's Courtly Check pattern.

We started adding MacKenzie-Childs ornaments 
to our tree in 2000 with the two you see above.

As the number of ornaments have accumulated,
our tree has taken on a distinct Courtly Check theme.
These are but a few of the incredible 
MacKenzie-Childs ornaments on our tree.

This darling Courtly Check cake plate mimics the life size one
The Chef gave me on my 60th birthday.

Various cooking theme ornaments reflect
The Chef's passion for food and cooking.

Tea theme pieces are a nod to
my fondness for tea time.

 Our love of France is 
also reflected on our tree.

This charming Louis Nicole French couple
were added to our tree in 1983.
You can read a complete post about 
Monsieur Chien and Mademoiselle Chat here.

Of course there are other dog ornaments too.
This year there was a new tartan dish under the tree.
Our sweet Sadie girl inspects it frequently asking,
"So where are the goodies, folks?"

 A collection of beautiful glass heart ornaments
are scattered throughout the branches.
The one above top row center is a treasured gift from my mother,
while most of the others were gifts from a dear friend 
who brings me a new heart each Christmas.
This is just a sampling!

 I am a Chi Omega alumna, so it is no surprise
that owls have flown onto the branches of our tree.

This guy sporting real feathers is new this year, my treasure from
 the ornament exchange at my recent dinner party.

Other birds have flocked to our tree through the years as well.
The Courtly Check bird on the egg is a rare
MacKenzie-Childs ornament.

Generally our tree looks much the same year to year, 
a tweak here and there or a new ornament found or gifted.
This year, I added the plaid picks that Pier 1 offered.
I like the pop of red plaid with the Pier 1 
burlap picks I've used for years.

To top our 2017 tree, I unpacked this exquisite
  MacKenzie-Childs handpainted glass topper.
Since I hadn't used this piece in recent years,
 it added an elegant fresh touch.

A small tabletop tree on the 
dining room buffet glows with tiny lights.

Another small tree sparkles with lights
by the side entrance to welcome us home.

Here at Hyacinths for the Soul,
 the post Christmas week is one of fire light,
 twinkle lights, and warm woolen blankets.