Saturday, September 29, 2012

Vintage camp blankets ...

Being foolish weather optimists, we hosted our al fresco fall harvest soiree in November instead of October a couple of years ago. The cool evening air turned into a chilly night, and our guests ended up swaddled in blankets I retrieved from our house.

Image via Atlantic-Pacific.

Bundled up and drinking wine was so much fun that I'm thinking of collecting some old vintage camp blankets just for the purpose of creating a camp-themed evening with yummy S'mores and hot chocolate for dessert. 


Images above via Old Hollywood (left) and Bippity Boppity Boo (right).

I love the look of authentic Pendleton blanket weaves in plaids and stripes. And, they're not too hard to find on Ebay and Etsy. But, the prices are going up as these vintage blankets are scooped up by savvy collectors.

Image of Pembleton blankets.

I've always called them camp blankets, but have seem them listed as carriage blankets and stadium blankets, too.

Image via Baby and Child by Restoration Hardware.

It's great to see my favorite warm woolens making a comeback in bedding. These blankets are a natural in rustic and industrial settings.

Image via Salvaged Grace.

Take it from a former camper, these blankets also make a great military bed with hospital folds. This neatnik loves everything learned while at camp as a kid, including admiration for warm, snug blankets.







Treasured textures ...

My senses are most happy when I am surrounded by a myriad of textures. Smooth and shiny, nubby and coarse, soft and cushy all combined to create a treasured textural experience in one alluring space.

Decor by Judy Aldridge. Image via Rue Magazine.

Spaces that host dynamic textural combinations have all seem to have a common denominator, each has one major surface that is totally calm and soothing. Giving the eye a place to rest is key.


Image via Cote de Texas.

The resting spot can be an unadorned wall or smooth floor, a white sofa or any pristine surface.

Image via Windsor Smith Room in a Box.

Then, the layers of texture play off the 'white space' beautifully. These are the spaces that make me want to touch everything, a habit that used to get me in trouble as a youngster!

Image via Eclectic Revisited.

I admit, I am a fabric junkie that loves the texture of woven flax and linen, embroideries, velvet, leather, fur and satin.

Image via Sea of Shoes.

Throw in the glitz of mirrors and metals, the earthy delights of woods and clay, and I'm in heavenly bliss.

Image via The Paris Apartment.

Tattered and frayed brocade, worn gilt surfaces, elaborately carved furniture all call out to me.

Image of Sugar House Loft, Bloemgracht, Amsterdam.

Where history and modernity meet is always my favorite place to treasure the textures in any environment.



At the harvest table ...

Our small olive crop this year may not have been our best, but it's still a reason to celebrate the yield with friends. It will soon be time to gather around our harvest table at our annual autumn soiree, and I've found some great inspiration for fall table settings.

Image via Camille Styles.


Wine, cheese, olives, tasty tapenades and warm, freshly baked breads - perfect starters for a harvest dinner. Notice the woven table runner? I love the texture.

Love the chairs, rustic wood table and simple settings in this image via House and Home.

I like to take my cue from Mother Nature and keep the tabletop simple. I'm dying to try my hand at incorporating moss into centerpiece elements. The little birds are a nice touch too.

Images via Courtney Out Loud.

The abundance of flowers and gourds makes this centerpiece a memorable arrangement, but it certainly needs a bigger tabletop than mine. The mini corn cob placed on each plate is a sweet reminder of the harvest.


Images via Courtney Out Loud.


Image via Hostess Jo

I'm going to figure out the construction of the pears and wheat centerpiece! Simple, yet elegant.

Image via Heather Christo Cooks.

The golden tribute to the season is lovely. Lemons, mums, oranges and golden tomatoes contrast beautifully with the all white dinnerware.

Image via Decoration Ideas.

As long as the table setting is warm and welcoming, it's a success in my book.


Friday, September 28, 2012

On the menu: Chilled Pumpkin Soup

I can tell it's Autumn by recurring thoughts of hearty soups, and I'm as big a fan of cold soups as hot. For the ultimate taste treat, Chilled Pumpkin Soup can't be beat.


I see no reason to wait for Thanksgiving to serve this. It will be a perfect amuse bouche for our next soiree!

CHILLED PUMPKIN SOUP RECIPE

Ingredients:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
5 green onions, chopped (about 1 cup)
1 can (14.5 oz.) diced tomatoes with liquid or 3 fresh tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped
2 cans (14.5 oz. each) chicken broth
1 can (15 oz.) LIBBY'S® 100% Pure Pumpkin
1 can (12 fl. oz.) Evaporated Milk
1/2 teaspoon salt (optional)
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
NESTLÉ Media Crema (optional)
Paprika (optional)

Directions: 
HEAT oil in large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion and green onions; cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 to 7 minutes or until tender. Add tomatoes; cook for an additional minute.

ADD broth and pumpkin; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low; cook, stirring occasionally, for 15 to 20 minutes. Stir in evaporated milk, salt and pepper. Remove soup from heat; cool for 15 minutes. Carefully transfer mixture to blender or food processor (in batches, if necessary); cover. Blend until smooth.

POUR soup into large bowl; cover. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours. Spoon into bowls. Top each with a dollop of Media Crema and sprinkle of paprika, if desired. Yields: 8 servings


Saturday, September 22, 2012

Doors decorated for Fall ...

Bring out the pumpkins and gourds of every shape and size and freshen up the entry with seasonal color. Autumn has arrived and there are lots of ways to dress up a door with rich hues and natural elements.

Image via Moneysaving Mom.

Gather up those fallen leaves to create a natural wreath, add berries and burlap ribbon for a homespun welcome.

Image via Roseflower 48 on Etsy.com.

Mini pumpkins (putka pods), moss and acorns add charm to a grapevine wreath that sells in the Roseflower 48 store on Etsy.


Image via Shanty 2 Chic.

Give me berries or pods and a smile comes across my face. They're just so cute and interesting. I can't explain the fascination - just love them.

Image via Handmade Spark.

Yummy blue berries and rusty cranberry colored leaves are delightfully cheerful for Fall.

Image via Bright Bazaar.

Glam those gourds and melons with some glitzy gold spray paint. A few of these would liven up any ho-hum decor.


Head over heels for Halloween ...

Halloween is about the only holiday that transports us back to our childhood and brings out our crafty nature, too.

Image taken by Alamodeus at Melissa Jeffrey Home.

Melissa Haberstroh is the creative talent behind this wickedly humorous centerpiece. As you enter Melissa's shop, Melissa Jeffrey Home in Boerne, Texas, the remains of one headless witch have been crafted into a Halloween centerpiece. 

Image taken by Alamodeus at Melissa Jeffrey Home.

Melissa has taken a handsome urn with Autumn berries, leaves and moss to surround a pair of mannequin legs dressed in striped hose and spellbinding boots. Nicely done! And, her pumpkin-colored banquette seats (a little peek shown in the photos above) are stunning. 

Image via unknown.

Squirmy snakes give this Halloween wreath a scare factor that might just keep visitors away, too. Creepy rubber snakes from a craft store have been hot glued to a grape vine wreath and finished with a spray of black paint. Chillingly creative.


On the heels of Halloween, we celebrate Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) in remembrance of our departed family and friends. It's a joyous celebration of life in vivid colors and iconic skeleton imagery.

Image via Creative Kismet.

Why not take a clay pot or two like these and transform them for the holiday?





Mini clay pots ...

In every shop I've visited lately, it seems there are mini clay pots serving a variety of tabletop functions. My head is spinning with ideas of how to use my stash of little pots now that they are on my radar.

Image via The Milkhouse.

I have no clue what these moss-filled pots are doing on a cake plate, but even if they do nothing more than add to the centerpiece arrangement, they're too cute to ignore.

Image via Martha Stewart.com.

Glue a hand-lettered note with guest's name to a twig, stick it in a moss-filled clay mini and cover it with a water glass. Voila!  A super cute place card and drinking glass ensemble. Darling idea.

Image via Alamodeus.

Maybe the nesting instinct appeals more. Glue a little store-bought nest to the clay pot for a place holder (above), or go all out and add a bird (below).

Image via Alamodeus.

But, the top prize goes to creating a micro-campfire in the little clay pots (below).

Image via Après Fête.

This is OMG-level brilliant for al fresco dining on an autumn evening. Simply line the mini clay pot with aluminum foil and place a tea light candle inside. Bring out the skewers, marshmallows, chocolate pieces and graham crackers for individual dessert S'mores at the table. Love, love, love this!




Queen's Wreath ...

Flowering vines are among my favorite garden growers, and Queen's Wreath (antigonon leptopus) ranks among my top picks for gorgeous blooms.

Image of Queen's Wreath via Alamodeus.

It loves our Texas heat and grows rapidly throughout the spring and summer. The thick, bright green foliage makes it a perfect screen since it loves to climb and drape gracefully over fences (and, really cover anything in its path). It's drought tolerant and deer resistant, both real attributes for planting in our region.

Image of Queen's Wreath via Alamodeus.

The abundant fuchsia flowers of Queen's Wreath attracts bees and butterflies, not to mention admiring passing neighbors. The beautiful flowers continuously bloom until the first frost.
Image of Queen's Wreath via Alamodeus.

Even though the plant will die back to the roots after a few days of freezing Winter temps, it will grow back again the following Spring, first with the appearance of heart shaped leaves along the twirling vine, then, followed by long sprays of distinctive pink flowers.
Image of Queen's Wreath via Alamodeus.

Queen's Wreath is often used in urban plantings because it tolerates air pollution, small planting plots, poor soil conditions and even inadequate sunshine.

The only thing difficult about this plant is reaching some consensus about its name. Queen's Wreath is also called Coral Vine, Mexican Creeper and Queen's Crown.

Image of Queen's Wreath via Alamodeus.

We have a fence line just waiting to host a butterfly magnet like the Queen's Wreath I photographed above. All images taken this week on High Street in Comfort, Texas.


Saturday, September 15, 2012

Time to get black and blue ...

Move over pumpkin and mustard, it appears black and blue have taken over as the color choices for Fall 2012. From the runway looks shown during the Fall fashion shows to the introduction of this season's home goods, it's seems that black in blue have gained traction among designers and buyers.

Images above and below of Milan apartment of Emiliano Salci and Britt Moran.
Photos by Emanuele Zamponi for Yatzer.

Beautiful ink blues throughout the apartment, owned by Dimore Studio designers, give it a sense of antiquity and tranquility while paired with ivory to lighten the space. Yum!


The rug and sofa are to die for in my estimation. Love, love them both!



Above, bold wallpaper is used by Miles Redd (left) to infuse this room with traditional motifs in a thoroughly modern way. The velvet upholstered salon chair (right) by Baker Furniture is so seductive.

Image via Stowers Furniture.

Blue sets the tone for a glamorous and classic sitting room.

Image via Desire to Inspire.

Wow! This door surround paint treatment is stunning. The impact of the bold blue is dynamic and inspirational! Brilliant combination of color block paint scheme and pairing of modern and antique elements.


Image via Chhatwall and Jonsson.

Decorative touches in this season's color palette can be added even with a modest budget. It only takes a few pieces of interest to create a bold look for Fall.

When it comes to fashion, I'm equally sold on designer pairings of blue and black.

Images: 1) Street style from Milan Fashion Week; 2) Ruffian for RTW Collection; 3) Rebecca Taylor via NY Post; 4) Free People via Bloomingdales; and 5) Viktor and Rolf coat worn by Katy Perry.

From indigo to electric, blues are hot. I think it may be time to get black and blue.



Equine inspiration ...

With the arrival of cooler weather, I'm in the mood for horseback riding. Not that I have a horse, but I would happily mount up for an afternoon in the saddle given the opportunity. Retailers must sense many shoppers feel the same way, too. Fall is always filled with equine inspiration.

Images: 1) Blanket via Gucci; 2) Articulating Horse pillow by John Robshaw; 3) Throw pillows from Gumps; 4) Equestrian fabric by Schumaker; and 5) Print of horse study by Leonardo da Vinci.


Interior designer Joy Tribout has an eye for equestrian style. Her classic touch interprets refined elegance into a haven for the horse lover (above and below). 


Framed racing silks, along with painted canvases of racehorses and jockeys, give the rooms above their distinct equestrian vibe.

Image of Patricia Kluge's Albemarle House entry in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Bank of America bought this 300-acre estate for the bargain price of $15.26 million
in 2011 -- it was originally listed for $100 million in 2009.

Whoa! The entry hall above would stop anyone in their tracks. Marble, carved as beautifully as the woods in the fine furniture, provides a grand canvas for the beautifully framed, antique equine painting.


Image via Riding Aside

Black walls and warm woods or light and airy spaces are equally adept at showcasing mementos dear to the horsey set.


Images via Shelter Interior Design (left) and Splendid Objects (right).

Interiors above focus on equestrian art and accents.

Image via Elle Decor.

Beautiful treatment in dark hues, with rustic woods and a modern motif rug set the tone worthy of a thoroughbred.



I love the way designers trot out the equine accessories from boots to bits for decorative interest. Images above via Belgian Pearls.

All of these photos make me long to pull on some riding boots and jodhpurs even without a horse. I'm apparently not alone.

Images: 1) Ralph Lauren; 2) On the streets of Paris via Enthusiasm Documented; 3) via Country Living; and 4) photo by Richard Phibbs.

I doubt I'll ever own a steed of my own or reign in my desire for one, but I'll try to make do with a few pieces in my closet to satisfy my love for saddle-worthy style!

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