Thursday, December 31, 2020

Backyard Renovation Reveal - Part 2

Late spring, the entire summer and early fall saw the renovation of our backyard. The project was designed as a whole, but the actual process took place in stages. I showed you the first stage in Part 1 and now I'm excited to share the next stages with you!
Although the entire backyard was a construction zone throughout the summer, thankfully we were able to use the deck fairly quickly. Since we sheltered at home, the deck offered a welcome area to spend the time outdoors and watch progress on the other areas. The photos below were taken the second week of October.
We'll start where we left off in Part 1 — the bridge that crosses the upper stream. The stream begins with a waterfall that's visible through the bridge's guard rails. The flagstones lead from the upper patio to the bridge and resume on the other side. . .

Thursday, December 17, 2020

Christmas in Red and Gold

We have traditionally celebrated Christmas Eve with a wonderful dinner, served on a lovely table set with fine china and elegant crystal. Although our traditions and most of yours have been upended this year, I see no reason to discontinue doing the things that bring joy and comfort during the holiday season.

So with my daughter's help, I've set our table with tradition in mind, but with modern elements that particularly appealed to her. Smaller yet intimate in the twilight, you're invited to join us at the table!

Monday, December 14, 2020

Hot Chocolate for Christmas

I have been admiring all the Christmas decor I've been seeing. I haven't gotten far decorating our house; in fact I've only managed to design a spot for serving hot chocolate on the kitchen island. 

Thursday, November 19, 2020

A Thanksgiving Table for Four

Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday. To me there's nothing better than gathering with family and friends, sharing stories and laughter, and celebrating with wonderful food created with well-loved recipes.

This year it will be different. There will only be three, perhaps four, of us. But there will still be much to be thankful for. And much to celebrate!

Sunday, November 1, 2020

Fall Vignettes - Pumpkins in the House

I seem to have acquired a lot of pumpkins in the past few years. I have pumpkins made of glass and others that are ceramic. I have a few velveteen covered pumpkins and a large array of foam pumpkins in a variety of sizes. In most years I add real pumpkins to the mix. Greg says I have enough. He's probably right, lol!

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Acorns and Flowers

According to the calendar, autumn is in full swing. It's not so evident in the northern part of Georgia. As you've seen in  October Garden Flowers, summer annuals are still blooming strong but the first of my camellias has flowered. And today the trees have begun to turn golden, while the dogwoods have taken on a red cast.

To celebrate the seasonal transition, I set a table that showcases the last of summer's wildflowers and the reign of fall's chrysanthemums.

Monday, October 19, 2020

October Garden Flowers

Spring and fall have always been my favorite seasons! Especially since I moved to Georgia where the summers are hot with too much humidity and the winters are dreary skies and cold rain. As consolation, my autumn garden is filled with flowers! I'd like to share this year's with you. All photos were taken this past week.

I'm always amazed that summer annuals last well into fall here. These are in the pots on the deck and upper patio, seen earlier in the summer garden.


Monday, October 12, 2020

Backyard Renovation Reveal - Part 1

Well, it's about time, isn't it?! We started the renovation of our deck and backyard on May 11 and finished the demolition, re-grading and construction the last week of September. And we're not quite done — we still have the deck railing to install and landscaping to complete. But we're so pleased with how it's turned out so far that I couldn't wait to share it with you!

First, a bit of background. We built this house twenty-three years ago. At the time we convinced the builder to save most of the trees which were on the lot. We've enjoyed the shade they provided, but it meant that most of the sloping backyard was never graded. Over the years the trees had grown considerably taller and shaded more and more of the backyard. 
Shortly after we moved in we had two small stone retaining walls built to provide somewhat level areas. We had a large back deck off the kitchen/breakfast room and a medium-sized concrete patio outside the French doors on the lower terrace level. Seven years ago we added another stone wall and flagstone patio beside the deck. Although we had the flagstone patio installed on several inches of packed sand and gravel with pebbles between the flagstones, we had gotten to the point where we could no longer keep up with the weeds growing on the patio in the soil washed down from our neighbor's yard. In addition, the deck was now long past its expected replacement time frame.
So in the winter we began to plan the transformation, not expecting to live in a construction zone for so long! Juggling schedules of different contractors who had to proceed in a sequenced, coordinated manner while dodging the wettest spring and summer in a decade!

We'll begin where you enter the backyard through the gate off the driveway.

Thursday, September 24, 2020

Inspiration for Fall Tables

In the last several days we have (thankfully!) hurtled from the dog days of summer to the delights of autumn, which officially arrived on Tuesday. Temps in the 70s are sooo welcome after the unrelenting heat and humidity we've had. Trees are still green and summer annuals are still flowering in the garden, but I'm ready to move on to fall decorating!
I've been revisiting some of the tables I've posted in the fall, seeing what inspiration I can find for the tablescapes I want to design. I've chosen several that share fall themes but were not designed for seasonal holidays that I thought you might enjoy seeing. Just click on each title to view the complete post!

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Dining Alfresco with Lemon and Lime

On the chance we would not get our daily round of rain or thunderstorms this afternoon, I set a table for two on the deck. We enjoy dining alfresco, but late summer is generally not the best time for it. Even in the shade with the fan on it's usually too hot and humid. There's a slight breeze today so we may be in luck!

Monday, August 24, 2020

The Colorful Summer Garden

When last we met in the garden it was late April, after the spring bulbs and shrubs had brought delight to the front gardens.

May arrived with Japanese, bearded and Siberian irises in shades of purple and white.

Thursday, August 6, 2020

Summer Tables: Dreaming of Paris

Like most of you, we canceled our vacation plans this summer. While we are spending the summer at home, it's not really a "staycation", since most of our time is literally spent at home: indoors, in the backyard or walking the dogs in the neighborhood.

But one can dream of vacations, of traveling to new destinations, of experiencing life in a different way! Because I had such fun designing a table dreaming of going on safari, I thought I'd set a table to capture the (imagined) feel of dinner in an exquisite hotel in Paris.

This table would have the casual elegance that I think of when I think of Paris.

Thursday, July 23, 2020

Summer Tables: Dreaming of Travel

Summer has settled in, with daily temperatures in the 90's and almost equally high humidity. Afternoon showers bring only temporary relief. So we have retreated inside for most of the day, venturing outside reluctantly, preferably as the sun goes down.

It appears that we will be sheltering at home for the foreseeable future. I have grown tired of reading, watching DVDs and Netflix, and solving puzzles. What to do? Dream of the travel that we will surely do someday soon! 

Since I love to create tablescapes, I designed one that combines a travel dream of mine with a hearty dose of one of Greg's.

Thursday, July 2, 2020

Celebrating the Fourth of July

While I set breakfast things on the bistro table, I thought about what celebrating the Fourth of July means in times such as these.

Thursday, June 18, 2020

Lunch on the New Bistro Table

Join me on the deck for lunch at our bistro table! While we have been sheltering at home (since the end of February) we came to the unavoidable conclusion that our 23-year-old deck had to be replaced. We took the opportunity to expand it by two feet, creating enough space to add a bistro set roomy enough for two.

Thursday, May 28, 2020

Blue Skies Inspiration for Spring into Summer

We had an absolutely beautiful weekend! Temps that were just right - not too cool, not too hot. Slight breezes, enough to ruffle your hair. And gorgeous blue skies!!

The perfect inspiration for a spring table that's easing into summer!

Monday, May 18, 2020

Smaller-Scale Table Settings for Memorial Day

As another holiday approaches, many of us are going to defer the large get-togethers that may have normally defined Memorial Day. I'd like to share with you several patriotic themed table settings that focus on smaller-scale ideas for four. Each of these can be easily adapted to take advantage of the things you may already have around your house, or the readily available (and inexpensive) decor found on your trips to the local grocery or on-line.

Smaller-scaled tablescapes can be just as festive! And the red, white and blue can be used all summer long. Click on the titles to see the full posts and all the details!

A Relaxed Memorial Day

Thursday, May 7, 2020

A Quick and Easy Blooming Tablescape

We are all sitting around our tables every day, probably more than we ever expected to. While staying at home, why not treat ourselves to a pleasing experience? It's as easy as creating a blooming tablescape in just minutes.

Thursday, April 30, 2020

Tea with Birdsong

We are in the middle of week 9 of sheltering at home. We got a bit of an early start since Greg was scheduled for out-patient surgery at the beginning of March. (He's doing great now.) You'd think I'd have a set routine by now, but it still varies by the day. The better the weather, the more walks the two furry ones insist on!

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

The Spring Garden Unfolds

The year started with strange weather — incessant rain and above-average temperatures. I wasn't able to do much to ready the garden for spring, but I needn't have worried. Mother Nature did just fine without me! Perennials and flowering shrubs unfolded across the garden from February through the first week of April.


Daffodils and crocuses defy the remnants of winter.

February 4

Thursday, April 9, 2020

An Easter Table with Hydrangeas in the Meadows

I found inspiration in the unlikeliest of places this week — the grocery store. Just inside the front door was a large display of blooming potted plants. I stopped in front of the hydrangeas, and this one came home with me. The opening blossoms are a lovely lime green, changing to periwinkle as they mature. Irresistible!

And I knew the flowers would go beautifully with the bunny plates I had bought on sale last year.

Thursday, April 2, 2020

Pastel Bunnies and Speckled Eggs

It's a beautiful spring morning! Warm temps, vivid blue skies and not a cloud in sight! It makes our isolation easier to bear when we can at least enjoy being outdoors. What also makes it easier is the proliferation of spring designs on blogs everywhere!

And because it's spring, bunnies are hopping! They've hopped onto our kitchen island bringing speckled eggs and pastel flowers with them.

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Spring Comes in Shades of Violet and Lavender

All the colors of purple are lovely — lavender, lilac, violet, amethyst, iris, plum, orchid, grape, and eggplant. And perhaps a few more hues I haven't thought of! All of them are spring-like except perhaps for plum and eggplant. To welcome spring, I've set a table using lavender and violet, with white and a bit of blue for contrast.

Monday, March 9, 2020

The Greens of March: Decor in the Entry and Kitchen

Rather than setting a table this week, I decided to refresh the decor on the chest in the entry and in the stemware cabinet in the kitchen. I usually change the tableau in the foyer as the seasons change. Spring is beginning to stir, heralded by flowering bulbs.

Thursday, February 27, 2020

Daffodils and Irish Spring Colors

As I was looking through my photos, I opened the folder of those I had taken in Ireland in the spring of 2018. That was one of our most enjoyable vacations!

I was once again mesmerized by the beauty of the countryside.

Sunday, February 9, 2020

Thursday, February 6, 2020

The Softer Side of Pink

When Daughter J was small, she hosted Valentine's Day Tea Parties for her friends. She and I selected the tablewares to use, the goodies to eat and the crafts to make. Miss J and her friends dressed up, brought their favorite dolls (who had a table to themselves!) and had such fun on otherwise deary February days.

I didn't create Valentine's Day tables again until I began blogging and found such delight in creating pretty tables and vignettes for a charming holiday. For this year's table I chose as a theme the softer side of pink paired with white and accented by gold.

Thursday, January 30, 2020

A Snowy Winter Tablescape

I have to admit I've loved seeing all the photos and videos of snow across the country. I'm longing (probably in vain) for a snowfall here. I really miss watching snow silently coat houses and yards. I miss ice crystals glinting in the sunlight. I miss snowflakes on my face. And so I created a snowy winter scene on my table for lunch. 

Sunday, January 19, 2020

New Moon, New Year

A new year is a time for new beginnings, for celebrating the past and welcoming the possibilities of the future. This holds true whether you celebrate the new year on a fixed date (January 1) or celebrate it when the moon is new (January 25 in 2020).

Or of course, you can celebrate both days! Chinese New Year gives me a great reason to use pretty dishware, rich colors and dragons from my husband's collection. Although I'm not planning to set a table for it this year, I've created a small display within my glassware cabinet.

The colors in the salad plates play off the cranberry and blues of the stemware above. The light strips in the cabinet beautifully enhance the delicate colors of the crystal and spotlight the dishes, but they make it difficult to take good photographs.

Thursday, January 9, 2020

Our Renovated Kitchen -- At Last!

Welcome to our new kitchen! One year ago we were midway through our nearly 6-month renovation. It's hard to believe — that it was 30 days behind schedule at the time, that we were living in the house the whole time, and that the past year has gone by so fast. We survived the renovation and we love the result!

We had neither the desire nor the time to handle the renovation ourselves. We've refreshed or replaced the kitchens in several houses and knew the scope of what it entailed. So we hired a designer and kitchen remodel firm to translate our ideas, but remained very involved throughout the entire process.