To Mr. Swede who is in San Francisco this week.
This love letter is to tell you Thank You for the wonderful weeks in Paris. Only a nice guy would go to 20 museums with his wife. You are not only a nice guy but a true saint. When I was robbed, you never said one word. Not one word of criticism. Not one "how could you lose that much", not one "you made a poor decision", not one "you idiot", not one "how could you be so stupid". Not one word. To me that was a true show of love. I returned from Paris in mourning. Not just for the loss of the money I worked for, nor for the personal violation from a stranger, but the loss of love for Paris and its beauty that I so enjoyed. It will never mean the same to me again. Paris changed me this year.
I just want to put in writing that I love you even more than I have the past 21 years. This is love in the good times and the bad times. The thief may have my money, but she doesn't have a fabulous husband like mine. I am the winner not the loser.
I am sorry, too, that you had to experience the pickpocket on the metro. He stole your love of travel as well as trust and belief in the goodness of people. Paris this year showed us the good, the bad and the ugly. We will overcome, be more thankful for our daily lives and go on to find other beautiful places. Thanks for being the fabulous man that you are.
Announcing my BIG news that I have put together a 182 page digital magazine.
The first issue is on Paris containing the photos Mr. Swede and I took there.
Sign up to see it in the box at the top of my blog or website. For the blog, be sure you are on my Typepad site and not in a reader to see the sign up box.
I will push the issue out next week.
As a precaution, I am not in the graphics art business and have no prior experience at making a magazine. I just decided to try it. I took a one-day class at my local computer school on the software. I definitely need more classes, but like blogging or anything else, the most important thing is to just start. With experience in doing these, I do hope to get better at it. Let me tell you, it was not easy. I just stumbled through it.
With that said, I am still proud of doing it. Take a look and see what you think. Below is the cover page.
On May 19th, Mr. Swede and I toured the Sevres porcelain factory on the outskirts of Paris. I had always loved the quality of Sevres work but never imagined I would visit their museum. [You do know that I am not the kind of pre trip planner who studies every map, review and book before I go! I'm lucky if my passport is still current.] You can purchase a Museum Pass at the lower level office at the Louvre [I highly recommend getting a pass]. When I looked at the list of what museums it covered, Sevres was on there. Mr. Swede wanted to go and lead the way -- good thing I had a personal tour guide as he knew how to get there.
When you get off the train and come up to ground level, you cross the street and then cross over a bridge and it is right there. You can see it when you get to the bridge.
When you enter there is a bookstore on your left and the ticket desk. I only found one book printed in English. And, before I go any further, I want to tell you that I had been pronouncing Sevres wrong. When I asked the guy at the desk about books in English, he very swiftly corrected me. It is "Sev' RUH". I had been saying "Sev-zzzzz".
Then you go up these marble stairs to the exhibits. I think these paintings are done on porcelain not canvas.
My brain just could not grasp all the details of these or understand how an artist could design and make one -- mind boggling to think of what all would have been involved in those years before electricity to produce such masterpieces.
I just know that if Mr. Swede would let me spend the summer traveling around to all the flea markets in France, I would find some of this. Well, I won't bore you with all the photos of dishes in this museum.
The worst part of it was we were there on a Saturday and the gift shop was CLOSED!!!! They told us where their retail store was in Paris and we went there the next day. Can you believe it was CLOSED for remodeling and was going to open back up on May 30th after we had gone home? Oh well, Mr. Swede now knows where it is. Remember, honey, it is near that pharmacy.
You see all the photos of the cute little sidewalk cafes in Paris. Don't they look romantic and inviting? We only stopped at a couple during the entire trip. This cafe is on Avenue Mac Mahon. Here is why.
I couldn't help but notice nearly every park, church and private garden in Paris had Foxglove plants blooming. Parisian gardeners certainly have a love affair with Foxgloves [Digitalis]. Their Parks Department must plant thousands of them.
I can understand why Parisians love their parks. The density of residential housing is high so people don't own individual homes like we do with their own yards. The only place to go to get out of the house is to the public parks, museums, etc., so they make them very beautiful.
At last, I'm back! My computer power supply died but the new one came today and it got my computer back up and running. I was crossing my fingers that all I needed was a new power supply and that the entire computer had not burnt up. I came home a couple weeks ago to the strange sound of my APC backup unit screaming like a burglar alarm. Of course, you know Mr. and Mrs. Procrastinator live in this house and never backed up my photo library. I truly was worried. Mr. Swede bought me an external hard drive for Christmas, but as mentioned above, it is still in the packaging. Shame! Guess that taught me a lesson. My H-P TouchScreen is only three years old. I'm so thankful it was just the power supply for $110 and not thousands for a new computer. I bought one on eBay for $22 used but the seller wasn't a registered user so I had trouble trying to pay him with PayPal. Long story you don't want to hear. Then I had to shell out for a new one from the manufacturer in Hong Kong. At least he ships FedEx.
Today's topic is floral shops in Paris. Being the everlasting romantic that I am, I had visions of beautiful floral shops on every corner of Paris. Isn't it funny how we have expectations about places like Paris. Truth is, I only saw two in the weeks we were there. One very small one on Isle Saint Louis and the one shown below. I wish I could tell you where I was when I came across it, but I was so exhausted from walking for eight hours all over town that I didn't know where I was. One of these trips I swear I'm going to take a notepad and write things down -- like street addresses.
I would have loved to buy all the bundles of the big Peony buds and lavish up their beauty -- overdose in them. The few plants in my garden - I lost another plant this spring -- don't put out many flowers and they are gone so quickly. Peonies need cold winters and we don't have them.
If anyone recognizes this florist, please send me an email with the name or address so maybe I can find it again.
This bouquet is for you, Marlis! Hope it reminds you of living in Orleans but doesn't make you homesick. You must tell me all about living there -- I very much want to hear all about it. Marlis is a lovely follower of my blog. I love Lupines, especially the coral colored ones but they don't grow here -- too hot. When we lived near Seattle they grew easily everywhere.
Mr. Swede was in Paris again today without me. All business - no time to take photos for me.
Today's photo of beauty is this tablescape in an antique store at the Paris flea market Saint Ouen de Clignancourt. This was the view into the shop from the sidewalk as you walk down the alley.
I loved the white chairs [would love them more if the frames were painted], white marble on the tabletop, the candelabras, white and gold trimmed compotes at the back of the table, and the oriental soup tureen. Behind the table you can see a C-scroll desk. I am not a fan of cane-backed chairs, however.
I am still sorting, straightening and fixing all the thousands of photos I brought back. I hope to do a post on my experience with this large flea market, including Paul Bert and the other divisions soon.
I had heard about the padlock bridge in Paris but never saw good photos of it so I couldn't totally imagine it. So when we left our apartment on Isle Saint Louis to walk around the second day on Isle de la Cite, we immediately came upon it. Ah, ha! So that is what it really looks like.
It would be hard to guess how many padlocks are on this bridge. I wonder how many years of collecting locks this represents. They are hooked around the chain links on both sides of the road. The Seine splits to go around the two islands in the middle, so the channel isn't very wide here.
There was another bridge across the Seine where we saw these also, and a few in public parks where there was chain link fencing, but this one had the most by far. Mr. Swede said he also saw a bridge of "love locks" in Cologne, Germany across the Rhine River similar to this. Don't know which came first or how many other bridges have the "love locks".
I'm not sure of the procedure, but I saw many locks with dates and initials on them and others with messages. Does putting a lock on this bridge bring eternal love? Do you throw the key into the Seine or keep it? Do any of them ever get removed? Do couples come back over time to visit their lock?
Notre Dame on an early morning. The only time I could take photos of the bridge without a million people in my shots was early in the morning. Mr. Swede seriously wanted to climb the 422 steps to the top of Notre Dame, but unfortunately, rheumatoid arthritis in my right knee said I wasn't going to do that. I didn't know what was wrong with my knee until we got home, but I told him that I would climb the stairs when my knee is better. I can imagine the view is wonderful on a clear day and great for photos.
So did Mr. Romantic and I place a lock here? No. Maybe on another trip to Paris. We didn't take the time to find a hardware store to buy a lock. I do think it is kinda fun to think about having something of yours always in Paris to seal a pledge of love when you are far away.
Continuing along with more photos of our trip to Paris, I am showing below some of the furniture at the Grand Trianon on the Versailles estate property. This is where the king and queens went [across the property several hundred yards, maybe] to get away from the goings on at the palace. I am only showing furnishings in this post as the gardens were not planted yet so no flowers in bloom to speak of for vast colorful sweeping views.
I thought the chairs in the first photo above were totally unusual with the pierced seats and backs. I've never seen anything like them. Very intricate carving. They also had small benches in the same design. I like the ormolu trim on the table's rim but not the urn and pheonixes on the stretcher. There was a time in my past that I would have liked the savonnerie rug, but not now -- just too much color and too much pattern. This estate is a good place for it to be together with those rose damask chairs.
This is one very large sitting room. You could probably entertain 100 guests here for cocktails. Notice the lavender paint trim on the chairs. Very unusual don't you think paired with the turquoise damask?
Nice console table but I probably would get tired of the swags. Some more unusual chairs. They said that during the revolution most of the furnishings were looted and they have slowly gotten some of them back by donation or acquisition. Some pieces were brought here from other palaces that they owned in the kingdom.
I enjoy looking at the interiors even though much of it is not my taste. What I did love, though, were the doors, interior shutters and door hardware -- oh! much to love there. Look for a later post of those objects.
I did also want to mention that it was difficult to get great photos inside the palaces because of the light. It was either too dark with the drapes pulled, or too bright with so much light flooding in.
Love this staircase -- honey can we have one like it in our next house?
Below is a collage of photos I took in Paris the past few weeks.
There is the rear courtyard at Versailles, an interior door at Versailles, a ruin wall overdoor from the remains of a chateau in the town of Roissy en France, and an old French document dated 1741 that I purchased at the Vanves fleamarket.
Just starting to sort out all the 2,000 photos. Enjoy!
Here is a fun way to recycle. I like to use empty wine bottles as vases for single tall stems of flowers, like these Hydrangeas, which were in full bloom when we got back from Paris this week. I particularly like wine bottles with insignias in the glass. Mr. Swede knows to look at the bottle instead of the label when purchasing bottles of wine, so he can bring back the empty bottles. Not exactly what a wine connoisseur would do, but he knows I am happy with them. The Paris grocery stores' wine section had a surprising variety of bottles with the insignias. I like the ones with crowns.
Shown with the wine bottles are French demijohn bottles in aqua and green in various sizes as a grouping on the console table in the hallway. The huge ones are on the floor underneath. I have no idea how many gallons of wine these once contained, but I know that I would not be able to lift one full of liquid. I designed the console for Swede Collection HERE.
I could use any vase for these flowers, but I get enjoyment from such simple bottles. I have kept the paper labels on the wines to remember when and where we enjoyed the vintage. You can see how big this aqua demijohn is compared to the size of the wine bottles. The aqua ones are my favorite.
Can you believe it??? Mr. Swede and I are spending May in Paris "together". He was there last week and again at the end of this week on business, but we are both taking vacation and going together with no work worries. We didn't do anything to celebrate our 20th anniversary in December, so this will be it. I'm working this week, then we leave for the City of Lights. I'm back May 29th. We will be there long enough to get several Saturdays in at the Vanves flea market. I sure hope to find something fabulous. My main goal is to photo every piece of antique and vintage object of beauty I find -- every rusty door hinge, door knob, or architectural element. Paris has been there as a settlement since 250BC as Parisii founded as far as anyone knows by the Celtic people of Ireland who came across what is now the Celtic Sea. I love the Haussmann buildings from 1853-1870 as well so hope to photo all of their elements. Our apartment is on the island of Saint Louis whose buildings are mostly from the 1600's. St. Louis, Missouri is named for this island.
Ile Saint Louis is the smaller natural island behind Ile de Cite shown in the foreground [you can see Notre Dame on the right]. I got this photo from the Internet, so apologize for not citing the original photographer of this aerial photo. The Seine River goes around on both sides of the island. This is in the center of Paris.
Here are some photos of the apartment Mr. Swede got for us last week. It is one bedroom, one bathroom with kitchen and dining-living area. Very small. Yes, only 410 square feet. Most of the island is residential --constructed in the 17th century. You can see the tall ceilings with wood beams.
We will be doing all the tourist things like Versailles, the Louvre, Notre Dame, and hanging like we're locals on the island. And, since the best ice cream shop in Paris is on the island, Berthillon, we will have to walk past it each day--lucky for our calorie consumption it is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.
I'm looking forward to an exciting time.
And, last, here's today's Daily Thing of Beauty, my neighbor's Queen Elizabeth Rose. I used picmonkey.com to add the marbelized vein effect.
Rose photo: Swede
I have switched up the decor on my hallway console table. This is the one that had my Santos Angels during the holidays.
I decided to put metal pieces here to tie in with the metal balcony in the photo on the wall. This is a photo of a building taken by Mr. Swede in Paris this summer that I had enlarged and put on 30x40 gallary wrap canvas.
With this wider view you can see that it is a canvas. Looks like I captured a creative cobweb as well. This Franco-Swedish console table with brown marble top I designed for Swede Collection. The shadow box being a gray/blue goes very well with the color of the console. This hallway is narrow and has columns for the dining room which block being able to take a photo straight on.
This week I am linking up to Tabletop Tuesday viewable after 6:00PM Eastern on Monday evenings here:
You know I'm crazy about detailed architecture on the old buildings in Paris. I'm showing today a few of the photos Mr. Swede took on his visit to Paris last week. He had a morning to walk around and take photos for me, however, it was sprinkling and you can see the sky is pretty dull in some of the shots.
No explanation necessary.
This is the Dome des Invalides and surrounding gardens. It is the chapel as part of the barracks to house 4,000 war veterans in 1676. Doesn't look bad for being 335 years old. Information about it is Here.
Now walking around to the other side of this complex you can see the military barracks buildings.
All for now. I'll show more Paris architecture in another post.
Have a great weekend.
Photos: Mr. Swede
One of the treats Mr. Swede brought me from Paris last week were macarons [French spelling vs. English] from Laduree. This treat was for my big "O" birthday Friday. The number before the "O" keeps getting bigger. So I'm another decade older.
The New York store opens this Friday, August 26th. There is just something about buying the macarons in Paris that make it an occasion. It's the ambiance of the city of Paris that make these cookies special. If you travel, you can find their stores other places in the world -- Kuwait, Ireland, Turkey, United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia -- but they are just not Paris. Read more about Laduree Here. The macarons are not exclusive to Laduree either as other bakeries in France make them.
All the best,
When Mr. Swede's job takes him to Paris each month, he has a permanent standing assignment from me to be a street walker. Anytime he has a few free hours, I ask him to walk up and down the streets near his hotel and take photos of the architectural detail of the old buildings. He has done a great job of getting some fabulous shots, maybe some by accident. I am holding those in reserve and not posting them until I figure out how to use them, hopefully to make some revenue. I've told him that if he can come home with two to four 2die4 shots and 10% great shots out of 100, he's done an excellent job. I'm very anxious when he comes home to get his camera [okay, so I'm standing at the door squealing with delight] and download the photos to see what he has brought me. Last week he was in Paris three days and was able to get out to take photos one of those days but the weather was not good being gloomy with overcast skies. Maybe the next trip will be better. He has had to pass on leaving the hotel a few trips because it was raining too hard.
It seems Paris is crazy for red Geraniums as they are in alot of his shots, mostly in potted windowboxes or planters. Maybe they are easy to grow for balconies.
I am wondering if Paris has the most fountains per square mile in Europe. Under Napolean III, Paris was renovated from a Middle Ages style city by city planner Baron Georges-Eugene Haussmann. This took place from 1853 to 1870 and continued on after Napoleon. Haussmann's plan put the wide tree-lined boulevards in place as well as many beautiful buildings that are still standing today. Read about Haussmann Here.
Jean Charles Adolphe Alphand, as Directeur des Travaux De Paris, the chief engineer of parks between 1855 and 1870 added so much beauty to Paris. Notice on the above statue the people working in gardens with shovels, rakes, wheelbarrows, shrubs, etc. You can read about the parks created under his direction Here.
Mr. Swede walked down both sides of the Avenue des Champs-Elysees and was particularly interested in this building at 109.
This building was constructed between 1897 and 1899 to be a hotel for the Paris World's Fair of 1900. The architect was Georges Chedanne. It was known as the Elysees Palace. I'm not sure if that was tongue in cheek or not because the real Elysees Palace is a few blocks away at 55 Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honore, built 1718-1722 and has been the residence of the President of France since 1874.
The building was purchased in 1919 by HSBC Private Bank and is their headquarters today. It looks like the architect commissioned French sculptors to carve the marble around the round windows as they are signed. On the North and South side of the building, the windows are oval and I could not find a signature on the marble. Notice in the above photo on the first floor the round and oval windows at the corner of the two streets.
I'll save the rest for another post.
All the best,
Photos: Mr. Swede
Technorati Tags: Arc de Triomphe, Avenue des Champs-Elysees, Baron Haussmann, Elysees Palace, Francois Sicard, Georges Chedanne, Hippolyte Lefebvre, HSBC Private Bank, Jean Alphand, Le Claridge Fraser Suites, Louis Baralis, Marriott, Paris
I decided to try something new for me in tablescaping -- the virtual tablescape. Several reasons for this: 1) I want to introduce my readers to dinnerware that they may not know exists, ranging from the stunningly beautiful to the quirky 2) I cannot ever afford most of it to do an actual tablescape, and 3) I cannot do 52 weekly tablescapes each year at home for Tablescape Thursday. So, on the weeks I don't do a real tablescape at home, I am going to try to do a virtual one. Nice thing about virtual ones -- you can spend the king's money and pretend to be Queen Antoinette and pick anything your heart desires! Since money is no object, let's just pick a beautiful home in Paris. Today's color theme is turquoise.
This beautiful Paris door photo that my husband brought back for me is the perfect color for today's turquoise tablescape theme. Let's put our dining table in this Parisian dining room. I have chosen one from Amy Howard Collection called the Manhattan Spider.
Photo credits: amyhowardcollection.com [top table] and firstname.lastname@example.org of Laguna Beach, CA [console table below] Let's put the console table on a short wall with the Swedish mirror above it.
Dining table is mirrored [price unkown]. Beautiful turquoise and gold console table is $7,500. Luvvvvvvvvvvvv that console.
Swedish 1820 mirror from bjorkantik in Atlanta is $2,450. That will look nice in our white room with turquoise accents. On the right, gold carved wood chairs by Massant. Surrounding the dining room table, let's place 12 of these Louis XVI beauties. They are Massant's L16TF9 designed by Poirier Cabriolet in 1777 the original of which is currently in the Louvre. These chairs are just 2die4. I have no idea what the price is, but way beyond my budget, I'm sure. Sigh!
Now lets put in a chandelier or two and some sconces from julieneill.com. Since I like white, I am picking her Lizette models. Don't know the price of these either.
Photo credits: julieneill.com. Love the leaf fronds formed into a crown. I love crowns as a symbol. The chandelier would look great in a Swedish dining room. [hint, hint Mr. Swede]
Since the dining table is mirrored, I think I want to put the chargers right down on the table without a tablecloth or placemats.
French maker J. Seignolles chargers are $313 each in the Petrouchka Bleu pattern. Have you seen these before? 2die4 Dinner plates by Alberto Pinto in the Mer Turquoise pattern at $220 each. I like how the gold centers of these dinner plates will pull up the gold on the edges of the charger. Next, Kim Seybert tumbler in Bubble Teal at $60 and knobbed goblet in Bubble Teal at $130. Here is a closer look at those fabulous Seignolles chargers.
These were love at first sight - brilliant turquiose and gold. As you may know, I don't like my china all from one pattern or one maker. I like to mix up the patterns but keep things all in the same color theme.
Photo Credits: 1) Top left: linens from kimseybert.com and her cuff napkin ring below left at 4/$112. The dessert plate, top right, is by French maker Raynaud in the Jardins Celestes pattern at $78. Let's use Alberto Pinto's bread and butter plates in the Filet A Papillons butterfly pattern at $135.
For after dinner coffee, let's select another French maker, Bernardaud's Eden Turquoise cup and saucer at $230. And let's use a salad plate from Raynaud in the Cristobal Turquoise pattern at $95.
Since we are in Paris, it is only fitting that we select French flatware. I will let you pick from my two choices.
Turquoise or gold? You may wish to stay with the turquoise theme with the color handled pattern from French maker Alain-Saint-Joanis's Tendances Seville pattern. Five pieces for one person runs $520. Or on the right, Elysee vermeil from Puiforcat at $5,025 per place setting. This was the official service in the 1940's of the French Presidency for the Elysee palace. Also available via neimanmarcus.com.
Before dinner, let's slip on this ring from Tacori's 18K925 Collection made as a doublet from quartz over green onyx with 18K gold and sterling "ringing" in at $1,150.
So there's my turquoise dinner in Paris. Did I forget anything other than food and flowers? I used Picasa3 software to make the collages to double up the photos to save space. If you know of a better way to do this, please email me. I am a true novice at this. Doing the virtual tablescape certainly took more time to put together than a tablescape at home.
Hope you have enjoyed shopping with me and spending alot of virtual money.
I am participating in Tablescape Thursday this week on the blog Between Naps on the Porch.
To see all the entries, after 9:00PM Eastern on Wednesday, go here:
All the best to you,
Technorati Tags: Alain-Saint-Joanis, Alberto Pinto, Amy Howard Collections, Bernardaud, bjork antik & studio, France, J. Seignolles, Julie Neill, Kim Seybert, Massant, Nicholson's Antiques, Paris, Puiforcat, Raynaud, Tacori
When my husband is in Paris for work several times a month, if he has an extra day to explore, he always brings me back architectural photos of Parisian details on buildings from his walks around the streets by his hotel. I love it when he stays in different areas of the city. I want to share just a few photos with you of his aerial views and rooftops.
Here is the beautiful rooftop of La Chapelle Royale built 1699 at Versailles for the royal family. Love the windows also. I hope my husband will be able to see the inside on his next visit.
And look at the roof detail in this section of the palace of Versailles. I also loved the detail on the fence. I am wondering if this is real gold leaf or gold paint. There is a type of real gold for exterior use shown in my gilding supply catalog. Versailles started out as a small hunting lodge in 1624 and then expanded by all the Louis kings.
This church is Saint Louis Cathedral in the city of Versailles. Churches seem to almost always have great roofs. Here's the plaque.
Below is another pretty rooftop of a building visible from the backside of Versailles. I would think Paris has more statues than any other city.
Below is an aerial view of Paris. The population of France is roughly 65 million and Paris is 2.1 million.
In looking at all those rooftops, I don't know about you, but I consider Paris high density living. I don't think there is a square inch of unused space. I think we are looking at all 2.1 million homes.
I love this photo also.
Doesn't this high rise hotel look out of place sticking up above the other buildings? What happened to zoning codes?
I absolutely love this photo. He took it from the top of La Basilique du Sacre Coeur de Montmartre. Great job, Honey.
Now here's a rooftop for you! Since Sacre Coeur sits up on a hill, it has commanding views of all of Paris. It would be hard to know how many thousands of artists have painted this building. I have collected over the years oil paintings by unknown artists who painted Sacre Coeur, Notre Dame and other places along the Seine River and sold them on street corners and parks. Most of mine were probably done in the 1950's and 60's. I always know where the painting was done if I see the domes of this building.
And, this building is lovely also. Sorry I don't know the name of it.
Do you see Sacre Coeur in the distance? Aerial view in the opposite direction.
Rooftops of Paris. Sigh.
Not a bad view.
And, how about this rooftop view with that old brown metal thing in view?
How's this view?
There is no lack of beautiful buildings in Paris.
My husband climbed the 382 steps to the top to get those photos.
Thank you, Mr. Swede, for the views.
Today's pretty picture is the back gate of the French Republic in Paris taken from Avenue Gabriel. My husband walked down from his hotel to the American Embassy and took this photo of the gate to the residence of the President of France.
Hope you are having a nice weekend. I have to get back to weeding my flowerbeds.
Photo: Nice Husband
I have a standing request with my husband when he is in Paris for work that he take photos of doorways and other architectural elements. I consider this free beauty. No cost for looking. This trip he stayed near the Arc de Triomphe which has the Avenue des Champs-Elysees on one side and the Avenue de la Grande Armee on the other. He brought me this photo of 22 Avenue de la Grande Armee.
The architect was Victor Gaucher. I tried to find the date of construction but wasn't successful. I would presume it was the late 1890's as I found other buildings in Paris he designed around that time.
That's some teal paint! I wonder what the original color was. This building looks like it takes up half a city block.
Have a super weekend.
Photo: Nice Husband
Today's tablescape speaks a little French. At an antique show several years ago, I found a set of French Limoges fish plates sold in Paris. The shop's address is on the reverse at 94 Avenue de la Opera, Paris. I loved the border color which is a melon -- a cross between pink and coral. All 12 plates have the fish swimming in a different direction.
Items used in this tablescape include placemats made by Copperworx of Clinton, MS. I believe they are available in two finishes, mine are the patina selection that looks like aged copper but does not have the verdigris or green patina like copper aged outdoors. Photos do not do justice to these placemats. You have to see them in person. They are made with a thin sheet of copper attached to cork so they don't scratch your table. The animal spotted tumblers are by Slant available through Dillard's.
Here is a closer look at the copper placemat. It has a lot of character from the aged finish.
This charger also speaks French. It is Jaune de Chrome's pattern Flamenco. The reflective color of the glaze changes as light hits it. If you are a tablescaper who has not yet discovered this French porcelain maker, you are in for a real treat. Their glaze finishes are unlike anything on the planet. I don't know how to even describe them to you. It is just something you have to see in person. After I purchased the copper placemats, I realized I was going to have a challenging time finding just the right plates to use with them. I did not want to go to wood chargers or a more casual look. Jaune de Chrome was the perfect answer. You can see the unusual texture and coloration in the glaze.
For the dinner plate, I am using 1960's vintage Ripple pattern by English maker Royal Worcester. When RW made this, they were way ahead of their time for unusual gold textured surfaces on porcelain. This is the type of porcelain you are now seeing from the French manufacturers.
I purchased a silver two-piece fish service for 8 about 18 years ago at an antique mall north of Seattle that I have never been able to identify. As you can see, there are hallmarks on the knife blade but I cannot find them in a book. I can't even figure out what country they are from. I know they are not English or French. I think they are 800 continental Europe silver not 925 sterling or plate.
The silver fish set will just be used for appetizers and the fork will remain on the table for dessert. I do not own French sterling [hint, hint Santa Claus].
For the remainder of the meal, Gorham's St.Cloud pattern will be used. Notice I do not show teaspoons. Unless they come with a grouping of silver I am buying, I do not purchase them separately. I prefer the larger oval soup spoons. Teaspoons to me are too small to be very useful. The larger spoons work well for both soup and dessert. Also notice in this photo that you can see more clearly what I was talking about with the finish on the dinner plates being so unusual for 1960.
The napkins are Martha Stewart Collection thru Macy's in melon. I also love this color. It works well when I am in my coral mood. The napkin rings are Reba in a metal lattice Stratford pattern. They are from country singer Reba McEntire's home collection from Dillard's. I got these to spray paint another color but haven't done that yet.
For dessert plates, I am using another French Elite Limoges specialty plate imported for retailer Higgins & Seiter of New York. These all have hand painted birds on them which are identified on the reverse of the plate. I love the gold ruffle rim. These are good to serve cake. I have not been showing food in my tablescapes. These bird plates and fish plates are what I really enjoy working with because they add such an unique look to the table. As you must have figured out by reading my blog, I don't like using everything in the same pattern -- salad, dinner, soup, bread, etc. Very seldom will I purchase more than two pieces of a pattern unless I am getting an antique or vintage china set in bulk. If that is the case, I feel all the china should be kept together and not sold off separately. They have spent their lives together up until that point and I feel they should remain so.
This dessert plate has a Quail couple on it. The coral napkin brings out the coral coloration around the Quail. The charger and placemat bring out the browns on the birds.
For additional glassware, I am using this tumbler which is American pressed glass from 1907. I believe the pattern name is Wedding Band.
A cake for dessert will be served with this French sterling handled cake server sold in a store in Lyon, France. The functional end is gold plated.
I am very lucky to have the original box the server came in.
I love French tableware, but I must admit that I don't speak a word of French.
I am participating in Tablescape Thursday this week on the blog Between Naps on the Porch.
To see all the entries, go here:
All the best to you,
White coral still delights me. Decor magazines may not be showing it as much as they did the past two years, but for me it is here to stay. Today I have used many of my natural coral pieces as the centerpiece. I do like using objects in the center of the table versus flowers especially when I can find something that fits the scheme.
I purchased two cachepots from the garden section of Home Depot. These are just the perfect size for potted floral plants that you buy. They slip down inside to hide the pot. I believe these are a fiberglass type material made to look aged. I filled them with bubblewrap and put the coral piece on top.
The goblet is the Stratton pattern of Simon Pearce. The tumbler is by Slant.
I wasn't a fan of the color brown, even though my husband loves it [don't most men?] until I walked into a china store and was smitten by this chocolate glazed Jaune de Chrome Paris encrusted charger. It just glowed and stood out on the shelf amongst all the other plates. It was the most incredible china I had ever seen, and as a china addict, I've seen a few. I guess it called to me from across the room and said "trust me, you will love me". This is the Tortoise pattern in the encrusted version. They make it in two versions. Tortoise has now won a place in my heart and I could almost say it is my favorite of all my china. I say almost because each pattern is wonderful in its own right. But, this was a looker. Jaune de Chrome makes very unusual glazes. When held in the light other colors come out such as a shimmer of lilac. In the past, I have not liked using black dinnerware or even dark browns. I made an exception to the rule with Tortoise.
For the service and appetizer plate, I am using William-Sonoma's Ocean shell plate. It is also made in France.
My husband asked for chocolate kisses with strawberries.
This is Tiffany's English King pattern first introduced in 1885 and still in production today. I am using it because of the shells on the ends of the handles which I think goes well with a coral theme. I would love to have acrylic handled tortoise flatware but have not found any I loved in my price range.
The bread and butter plate is from Williams-Sonoma. I believe they called it a biscotti plate. I can't afford the b/b plates in Tortoise at $203 each, so this is an example of hi-low as they were on sale for $1.25 each. Butter spreaders with mother of pearl handles are Jean Dubost France.
The tablecloth is quilted white with a scallop hem. Napkins are Le Jacquard Francais 100% linen damask in their Primrose Bordier Tivoli pattern in Moka color that I had monogrammed in metallic gold thread.
For salad, I am using rim soups in the Jaune de Chrome Tortoise pattern. I have mentioned before how I like to get triple duty out of rim soup bowls -- soup, salad and dessert. Due to the cost, I only purchased chargers and rim soups in this pattern. It is also my general rule not to buy all pieces of one pattern.
For dinner plates, I am using Richard Ginori's Coquille pattern.
There are some browns on the plate in the fish's fins and body that pull out when placed with the charger.
The dessert plates are Jaune de Chrome's Jungle Amber pattern in a rimless coupe shape. They, too have a unique glaze. I am using these for their color instead of a patterned plate.
I'm sure it won't come as a surprise to know I am serving a chocolate dessert. And, grilled Halibut on the fish plates.
I am participating in Tablescape Thursday this week on the blog Between Naps on the Porch.
To see all the entries, after 9:00PM Eastern on Wednesday, go here:
All the best to you,
Here are some photos my husband took near his hotel in Sydney, Australia last week. The sculptor is Francois Sicard of Paris.
As you know, this is their summer season now so everything is green in the parks.
And here is a church that was nearby.
Hope you enjoyed your brief Australian tour.
Photo Credits: Nice Husband
My husband forgot to tell me he had a few photos on his camera from his trip to Paris last week.
One of the Laduree stores decked out for the season. Everybody knows what this store sells.
Isn't the decor on this building unusual? Look at those Christmas trees and the green draped bunting.
It was very cold so he didn't venture far from his hotel this time.
I have a standing order with him to take photos of Paris doorways, architectural details and balconies. He brought me this doorway.
And here is a little holiday decoration on a balcony.
And, I have another standing order with him to take me with him next time.
All the best,
Photos: Mr. Sweet Husband
Continuing our sightseeing in Paris, here are more photos of the Palais du Luxembourg and its Jardin mentioned in my earlier post. I believe today it is used as a Senate building.
One very smart thing my husband did was take photos of the signs explaining where he was.
These photos are from another lovely park.
The pretty flowers before the first frost.
Hope you enjoyed.
All the best,
Photo Credits: My Husband
Here are more Paris exteriors. Enjoy.
At the heart of Quartier Latin and close to Paris Universities, the Place St-Michel is a famous Paris landmark. The fountain in the center of the square was created by French sculptor Davioud in 1860 and represents Saint Michel, protector of France, slaying a dragon.
This is the Fontaine de St. Michel. It is a favorite place for young kids to hang out. Here is a photo that shows it is only on the end of the building.
Here is a close up of the sculpture. This dragon looks pretty fierce.
Next we have the church.
One of the smart things my husband did was take photos of the street signs where he was so he could return or remember where he took that photo.
Next, the Pantheon.
The inscription above the entrance reads AUX GRANDS HOMMES LA PATRIE RECONNAISSANTE ("To the great men, the homeland [is] grateful"). By burying its great men in the Panthéon, the Nation acknowledges the honour it received from them. As such, interment here is severely restricted and is allowed only by a parliamentary act for "National Heroes".
In the center of Place de la Bastille is the Colonne de Juillet, the July Column, a steel and bronze column standing 52 meters high and weighing 170 tons. The architects Alavoine and Viollet-le-Duc designed it in the likeness of the Trajan Tower in Rome.
The top of the Colonne de Juillet is adorned by a gilded statue called the "Genie of Liberty". It is the work of Durmont. It has a star on its forehead and is carrying a torch in one hand and in the other a broken shackles chain.
The Colonne de Juillet commemorates the July Revolution of 1830, three days of battle called "Les Trois Glorieuses" which resulted in the overthrow of Charles X and the installation of Louis Phillipe.
At 8 place de la Bastille, 75011 Paris, France is the Bastille restaurant near the July tower at the former Place de la Bastille. The Bastille was a fortress and prison from 1370 to 1383 an demolished during the French Revolution. Some remaining stones of the fortress can be seen on Boulevard Henri IV.
Now a bridge over the Seine built in 1904.
The Via Duc d'Austerlitz is a single-deck, steel arch, rail bridge that crosses the Seine in Paris. Its usage is solely dedicated to the railroad traffic.
And, of course, below, this is always a famous landmark for American tourists.
That's all for today.
Photo Credits: My husband
Continuing with more photos of Paris, the following are of the Louvre's exterior. Beginning as a fort around 1190, there were many renovations and extensions during the 1500's by various royals. It was vacated as the seat of power for France and the royal residence of King Louis XIV in 1692 but continued to house the royal collections. It opened as a museum in 1793 and has undergone many changes since then. Housing 35,000 artifacts and spread out over 652,000 square feet, it is impossible to see at one time, maybe not in weeks.
Located on the right bank of the Seine River in the 1st arrondissement.
Here are some photos of the exterior architectural details.
The camera is tilting,not the building [smile].
Also located on the grounds is the Arc de Triomphe.
Close up of the top.
Here you can see the Eiffel Tower in the background.
You could literally take thousands of photos of this structure and spend many days here.
More on other parts of Paris coming up next.
All the best,
Photo Credits: Hubby
My husband's job takes him to Paris frequently for about four days at a time. I have been encouraging him to do more sightseeing around the area near his hotel. He stays in three different parts of Paris; this time he was near Bercy in the 12th arrondissement. When he left for this past trip I put a camera in his hand with instruction to take photos of Paris details. That's it. No further instructions, preferences, wishes, begging or pleading. I don't know why I didn't ask him to do this on his many trips before. When I downloaded the photos I was totally surprised and thrilled with the results. Maybe he's been paying attention to my love of design all along. Who knew? Maybe he's the best photographer in the household. He did a really great job. 325 photos in four days. He did a lot of walking around Paris. I want to share some of them with you over the next few weeks so as not to overload. I have divided the photos into different subject matters.
I am calling these Autumn in Paris as the leaves there are starting to turn but have not dropped off yet. His first visit is to the Jardin du Luxembourg, a 55 acre park started in 1612 by Marie de Medici, the king's widow and regent for her son, Louis the XIII. She asked for the planting of 2000 Elm trees. They have been replaced over time, I'm sure with new ones. On this day they were looking magnificent. In the park are 20 figures of French queens and female saints, only a few of them shown below. These figures were added in 1848 by Louis Philippe. There are over 100 monuments on the entire 55 acres. I think the ones in the center of the green lawn below are the four Times of Day - looking toward the Fontaine de l'Observatoire.
The golden tone of the tall Elm trees along the park are captured. The grass is amazingly green. Notice that there is a fountain at the end called various names including Fountain of the Observatory, Carpeaux Fountain after the sculptor of the women statues, or Fontaine des Quatre-Parties-du-Monde. The park is in the 6th arrondissement.
Love the turtles. Emmanuel Fremiet designed the horses, turtles and fish. Here are some close ups of the fountain's features created in 1874. Gabriel Davioud developed the Avenue de l'Observatoire in 1867.
Europe has some incredible fountains and that is especially true of Paris. There are water features everywhere.
The sculptor for the garlands around the pedestal was Louis Vuillemot. Love the seashells. Next is a view of the detailed structure on the top consisting of the armillary by Pierre Legrain and women representing four of the continents. The nudes were designed by sculptor Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux.
With the weight of responsibility in holding the world up, they forgot to get dressed but found time to put on their earrings.
I think the colors of the leaves are majestic as a backdrop to these queens. Probably prettier than just green leaves during the summer.
I like Mary Queen of Scots's crown. Below she is full size. The plaque says: Marie Stuart, Reine de France 1542-1587. Note the small waist. I like the folds of her skirt, too. Not so much the collar of the cloak.
I just love the leaf color here. Great job Hubby.
On the women statues, I was noticing the size of their hands compared to the size of their waists.
These leaves are just fabulously varigated and just postcard perfect. She is Clemence Isaure by Abtoine-Augustin Preault.
Moving along to the next one. She is Anne Marie Louise d'Orleans.
I couldn't find the name of this statue.
Let's look at some other architecture surrounded by fall colors.
Notre Dame's gardens full of golds, reds, oranges and yellows.
Here you can see the trees starting to change surrounding the buildings.
This is the front of Maison du Jardinage in Bercy Park in the 12th arrondissement. I wonder if the vines on this building turn crimson red at frost.
Geraniums and other flowers are still beautiful until frost. You can see the Eiffel Tower in the distance.
These rose bushes are still in full color.
Tomorrow I will show you some architctural details on beautiful buildings.
All the best,
Photo Credits: My Hubby [with hugs and kisses]
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Where does new product design inspiration come from? Is there much that is truly original and new? Is it okay to copy what someone generations ago has designed if you cannot identify who the original maker was? What actually defines "inspiration", "re-imagining" or "re-designing"? These questions could be a bit controversial in the design world. Those topics came to mind when I was very surprised and delighted today to see Cote de Texas's blog post.
I have been reading Joni Webb's blog Cote de Texas for a long time.
On today's post "Darling French Apartment for Rent", which I just loved, imagine my shock and surprise to see this photo.
There it was, the design source for a new iron bed I purchased a couple years ago from Corsican in Los Angeles. The company that made this antique iron bed many years ago must have made many in this style and a few have survived the years. It is hard to know how old this bed is or who the original maker was unless it has a nameplate attached to it somewhere. I would guess that a designer for Corsican found another such antique bed at a brocante or, perhaps, at the Paris Flea Market. Then the designer took the best of the design as inspiration to create a new product. As controversial as it may seem, after all those years there would be no copyright, patent or trademark infringement. It would be nice to honor the original maker, but in my opinion, it also honors the maker, although silently, by reproducing his design and letting it live again for more people to enjoy for another 100 years or so.
Go to Corsican furniture's website and plug into the search field at the upper right each these numbers: 6072, 40128, 40048, 6924, 6834 and my bed 41632. You will see how the original bed inspired these products.
Even I redesigned this bed, having never seen the antique. I asked Corsican to take style number 40048 and make some changes. I added the crown on top for this "king" bed [as I treat my guests like royalty!], the frame structure at the top, and I added a padded headboard for my guests' comfort. Iron beds are very uncomfortable to lean back upon to sit up in bed and read a book or magazine which I wanted my guests to be able to do. Adding the padded panel solves that problem. The style shown on the website 41632 is my exact guest room bed photoed in Los Angeles before they shipped it to me.
Here it is in my guest room.
Be sure to look at the other photos of this apartment called leTurenne on the Provence West website:
The entire apartment is just wonderful. Neutral, light and white furnishings that I just love with accessories having aged surfaces. I also want to mention that I love the trumeau and the salvage iron made into lamps that are shown in the photo. How fun it would be to rent that apartment and stay in that bed! My husband flies to Paris almost monthly. Maybe it could happen if all the stars align! Wow!
If I remember, the MSRP on these Corsican beds for a king size was around $5,600 before the $800 additions I made to it. If you would like any of Corsican's products and do not have a connection to a discounter, send me an email via "email Swede" and let me know. I think queen beds were the same price but full and twin sizes were, of course, less.
I am a big fan of brass and iron beds. In another of my guest rooms, I have Corsican bed number 5698 which is very romantic with the birds and vines. It, too, comes with various available modifications to customize the posts, footboards and canopy. It is hard to believe that I have owned it for 20 years and was the first bed I purchased from Corsican. If you want to look at it on the website, type that number in the search field. I had mine finished in gold leaf. I wish I owned a private luxury hotel so I could own more of these beds. I know which ones I would select.
Well, how fun was that!
All the best to you,
Photo credits: 1) Cote de Texas via Provence West of Paris
Blog content: Joni Webb of Cote de Texas; and Swede
Well, it finally happened.
Yes, I finally got to taste the macaroon cookies from Laduree in Paris. In Paris they spell it "macaron".
I have been seeing blog after blog talking about these cookies for a long time. So I asked my husband, who flies in and out of Paris frequently, to stop by Laduree and bring home some of those famous macarons. Since he likes macaroon cookies [with coconut] too, he was nice enough to stop by one of their shops and find a sales associate who spoke English to assist with the flavor selection. I had told him that packaging was everything at Laduree and that I wanted to keep the boxes they came in.
This should be a lesson in every marketing class that packaging sells the product. Maybe more than the product does itself. My husband picked out three boxes and asked for raspberry and chocolate for sure.
So now I can cross macarons from Laduree Paris off my bucket list. Next step is to get him to shop at the Paris Flea Market for me!
When I saw photos of macarons on other websites they looked so huge. These are only 1-3/4 inches across.
They have a fragile crust on the top that forms in the baking. Some have cracked and crumbled. Doesn't affect the taste, however, I assure you. The filling in the middle I would describe as a firm jelly.
The three boxes are displayed on the plate and when Euros are exchanged, this is about $70 worth.
There was a large selection of packaging to choose from. Here is what my husband picked.
Laduree also sells chocolates but they are too difficult to get home in the summer heat. There is also a small restaurant for tea and lunch.
Thank you, sweet husband.
All the best to you,
Original content: Swede
Photo credits: Swede