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Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Centerpieces:Fresh or Faux?

It's wedding season and there is nothing like gorgeous fresh flowers at a wedding. Or is there? When my friend's daughter got married last summer she spent over $2000 just for the flowers. Yikes! 

My son is getting married in a couple of months and I'm helping out with the centerpieces. The wedding is in California and I live in Utah. It makes sense to be able to make centerpieces ahead of time so we've chosen to use candles and a floral candle ring. I found these lovely eucalyptus wreaths recently. Nice, but they need more...something. 

First I wove in some lavender and white satin ribbons. 

Then I was offered some free silk flowers from Fake Palm Trees @

What luck! These little lavender bouquets are perfect for adding in some color  to the wreaths. Aren't they gorgeous?

Of course, they are charming by themselves. I merely plopped  a bunch into one of my favorite French pots and voila!  A bit of Provence in the kitchen!

But back to the centerpieces. I tucked the lavender sprigs into the wreath.  Ah yes, looking better.

The bride and groom are both musicians so I added some candles wrapped in vintage sheet music and tied on a tag with  their names and the date.

In the evening with the candles lit I'm hoping these provide a sweet romantic glow to the tables. 

Oh, and these cost WAY less than $2000. We'll go ahead and have fresh flowers for the bride and bridesmaid's bouquets, as well as corsages and boutonnieres. So what do you think?  Faux can be a very good option to keep your wedding costs on budget.

Commercial Palm Trees  carries a wide variety of faux trees and silk flowers. Their sister site Silk Plants Direct is offering a 10% discount to my readers. Use discount code BLOGGER10.

Disclaimer – I was provided with a free product in return for my honest review. All thoughts and opinions expressed herein are my own and not influenced by the developing company, and/ or its affiliates in any way.

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Tuesday, May 29, 2018

American Craftsman and Mission Style

My son and his young family are moving from Pennsylvania to Utah this summer. Yay! They will only be a 3 hour drive away from us instead of a 3 day drive.

 He and his wife would like to decorate their home in what is commonly called Mission style. This look is also referred to as Arts and Crafts, Craftsman or Stickley. So what's the difference? What traits make this style of furniture "Craftsman"? There are many good books on this subject and many articles on the internet but I'm going to summarize and try to make it easy.
Craftsman furnishings have strong clean lines and feel very solid. The pieces are most often made of oak especially quarter sawn oak which highlights the beautiful grain of the wood. The term American Craftsman was used by furniture maker Gustav Stickley after he visited England to study the Arts and Crafts movement there. The Arts and Crafts style replaced the fancy Victorian era furnishings with all of its curves, carvings and embellishments with simple lines and stylized images from nature. The idea was to focus on pieces made by hand by true artisans as opposed to mass produced furniture that was introduced during the industrial revolution.

The term  Mission style refers to the Spanish missions of  southern California and  reflected the simple and practical furnishings of those structures. It also features strong horizontal and vertical lines. I think of it as a subset of the Craftsman style. 

This look has remained very popular today especially in the Midwest and Rocky Mountains. If you've ever seen the movie "A River Runs Through It"  which is set in Montana, the home there is a perfect example of American Craftsman styling.

A very popular and recognizable piece is the Morris chair, named for William Morris an English designer of the mid 1800's. 

Hardware is usually bronze or copper and may have a hammered finish.

American Craftsman furnishings have a timeless appeal as they work well with both antique and contemporary styled homes. The furniture is also very family friendly withstanding knocks and bumps from kids and pets! Visit your local antique store and you'll be sure to find one or two pieces. Plus many furniture stores carry good quality reproductions. Price of course, depends on quality but I have found several very affordable  pieces over the years.

I can't wait to go antiquing with my kids!

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Friday, May 18, 2018

Tulip Festival

May in Utah is bursting with blossoms - crabapples, flowering pear, lilacs and bridal wreath. Not to mention the bulbs - daffodils, hyacinths and tulips.  Scott and I were married 41 years ago this month and to celebrate we spent a day at the Tulip Festival at Thanksgiving Point. There are literally hundreds of thousands of tulips in bloom in every color imaginable.

 I definitely want one of these pyramid trellises for my garden.

What a delightful way to spend a day!
The festival runs annually every April and May. For more info go to 

Friday, March 30, 2018

March Dinner Party

Two weeks ago I hosted a small party for several friends who all have spring birthdays. I chose a St. Patrick's Day theme but this would easily work for any springtime luncheon.

 I pulled out a charming vintage tablecloth that I found once while thrift shopping. It is cross stitched with colorful spring flowers.

 My favorite place settings are my mix and match white ironstone and mix and match vintage silverware.

 A few pots of primroses are perfect nestled in an old toolbox. 

To go along with an Irish theme I served Loaded Potato Soup
 Martha Stewart's  Irish Soda Scones ,

fresh artisanal bread, 

and spring greens with apples, mandarin oranges and berries.
To top it off, one of my favorite make ahead desserts, Mint Oreo Ice Cream Pie.

I bagged up Rolo candies and attached a vintage card with an Irish blessing wishing everyone luck.
It was a fun and pretty way to welcome spring! 

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Sunday, March 25, 2018

Tiffany's Gorgeous Glass

When you hear the name Tiffany do you think of diamonds, exquisite jewelry, and little blue boxes or do you think of glorious works of stained glass?

Charles Lewis Tiffany was the founder of the famous jewelry store and it was his son, Louis Comfort Tiffany who is known for his amazing work in art glass. He was a pioneer in the Art Nouveau movement incorporating nature into his fanciful designs. 

Yesterday I attended an exhibit of his works at the 
BYU Museum of Art entitled 
Tiffany Glass: Painting with Color and Light
Tiffany's creations are breathtakingly beautiful and so inventive.

wisteria table lamp

One of the better known designs is this wisteria table lamp. Notice how the blossoms drape and cascade to form an uneven rim.

poinsettia hanging lamp

Art Deco floor lamp

dragonfly hanging lamp

landscape hanging lamp

The lamp bases are almost as ornate as the stained glass. The bronze base forms a trunk to support the heavy shade.

This design was new to me, a bamboo glass shade supported by a large stalk of bronze bamboo.

Here is another of Tiffany's most recognizable designs - the dragonfly lamp.

Of course Tiffany made more than lamps. His stained glass windows decorate cathedrals, palaces, libraries, businesses and museums all over the world.

I was fascinated by the shards of glass on display. Notice the streaks and marbling in the glass used to represent dappled sunlight on leaves or creases and fold in fabric . 

Many years ago I took a stained glass making class. I remember cutting each piece, applying the copper foil and the flux and finally soldering each piece together. It takes patience and true craftsmanship to create these works of art.

If you are in the greater Salt Lake area it's worth a stop in to the BYU Museum of Art for this fabulous exhibit! 
For more info click HERE.

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