Posts Tagged ‘collections’

A Tea Party Bridal Shower

Wednesday, May 16th, 2012

After five-and-a-half years together, an eighteen-month engagement and countless hours (and weeks, months, year+) of wedding planning, the day is almost here!

Happy couple

I’m so happy for my youngest daughter and my “almost” son-in-law! I can’t wait for their wedding day! But first, the bridal shower…..

Bridal shower gifts

The shower took place at my parent’s home. This is the home that I lived in from age thirteen until my own wedding day (I know, I’m a relic from the ancient past!).  This is a home filled with life memories and the location of countless birthdays, anniversaries, Christmas eves, baby showers, bridal showers, and even my own wedding reception.

Tea Party Garden Shower

Not only did the weather cooperate with a perfectly beautiful day after a rain the previous day, but the landscaping coordinated so perfectly with the purple, lavender and pink color scheme of the shower. Total accident! We didn’t even notice it until everything was set up.

garden party bridal shower

The bridesmaids and my eldest daughter outdid themselves with every detail, even down to the homemade “poofs”.

Party poofs for garden party

The charm of this tea party is that absolutely nothing matched. It really was a combination of many people contributing whatever they owned. All of the china and silver was borrowed from my mother, sister and me; most of which had been handed down from a few grandparents. A bridesmaid came through with the purple and lavender linens.


But, the highlight of the party and the reason my eldest daughter, the matron of honor, wanted a tea party theme was to use Grandma’s china teacups (and the fact that bride-to-be was so taken with the royal wedding that had taken place in the midst of her own wedding planning!).

tea cup collection

My grandmother belonged to many social groups. These were not high-society, just groups of neighbors and friends wanting to connect and have fun together. One group she had belonged to for many years had a “secret pal” agreement. On each special occasion, a secret pal would give my grandma a unique china teacup; anonymously, of course. Her collection built-up over the years to include over twenty cups and saucers.

china tea cups

Grandma Flo was the rock in our family.  A no-nonsense personality with a fun-loving spirit who “said it like it is” and never worried (really!). She lived to be an alert 101 years-of-age and had the respect and love of her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Tea Party Shower

Spread across the tables were many china and crystal cream-and-sugar sets filled with pink gerber daisies, soft pink roses (all from our local Costco store – also online here) and purple statice from our garden.

Creamer filled with flowers

A tea station was set up in the kitchen for everyone to serve themselves prior to heading outside. There were five different types of tea in five unmatched (of course!) tea pots all resting on tea warmers. All of the tea was purchased from The English Tea Store, an on-line store with a great variety of teas at low prices.

The teapot below was brought back from England by my mother and I as a gift to my sister.  I can’t remember how many times I had to take this out of my luggage and unwrap it for customs both in the UK and the US! TIP – Save energy and time – shop your local antique stores!

tea pot

The pot below was my favorite from my Mother’s china set which actually is meant for coffee, but worked out just fine for “The Royal Garden Tea” – a favorite tea at the party! The lemons are from my lemon tree. Does anyone need lemons? I could go into the lemonade business!

tea party

Here is the menu of the yummy food which was passed out in courses by the bridesmaids and a helpful niece. The sandwiches, scones, clotted cream and cakes were picked up from a local San Diego favorite, Shakespeare’s Tea Room. Shakespeare’s is a lovely and quaint spot for a tea for two or any larger event. The cost of the food turned out to be the same as purchasing the ingredients and making everything yourself!!! The fruit cups were a few strawberries and blackberries in decorative cupcake papers from Michael’s.

I wish I had photos of the trays; everything looked as good as it tasted. Unfortunately, we had camera issues. The photos here are a combination of my photos, my daughter’s, and my cousin’s (hers are the best). We’ll do better for the wedding!

tea party shower menu

What’s a bridal shower without a little champagne! The champagne flutes were collected from several family members. Blackberries on sale at Costco.

champagne flutes with berries

What I really wanted to get across in this post is to pay attention to what you already have and use it! This shower was done on a budget, but you wouldn’t know it. Were we cringing when we thought, ” What if one gets broken?” as we’re getting Grandma’s teacups out? Of course, but as my Mother said, “These are to be used and enjoyed and if one gets broken, oh well.”

On several occasions, I’ve found interesting items, antiques, or collections in my client’s homes that are kind of take for granted and aren’t really paid any attention to. You wouldn’t believe what I’ve found boxed away in attics, garages and storage units (no basements in CA) – LOL, the glamorous life of an interior designer! These things don’t need to match or coordinate with your decor! Yes, I just said that. A home filled with cherished items is more important than a perfect one!

Not everyone has a home with decades of memories or cherished handed-down items. That’s okay! It has to start somewhere, right? Legacies begin with the memories you create now. Have some fun and see where it leads you.  And if somewhere down the line something gets broken while using and enjoying them….. “oh well”.

Book of the Month – “The Collected Tabletop”

Monday, February 20th, 2012

If you enjoy entertaining and creating memorable events, you will love February’s Book of the Month!  “The Collected Tabletop” by Kathryn Crisp Greeley showcases an assortment of stunningly beautiful table settings.

The Collected Tabletop

I spend most of my reading time on-line or on my Kindle. I love the ease of storage and the convenience of taking my library wherever I  go. But, there is something special about a high-quality interior design book with beautiful photos that electronic devices cannot compete with. And this book is absolutely gorgeous! The photography of the table settings by J. Weiland is stunning! Savor this book with a cup of tea and some quiet time.

Formal tablesetting

Kathryn Greeley is an accomplished interior designer from North Carolina. I admire her design philosophy of  “collected, not decorated”. In her book, she shows you how to use what you have and combine them in ways to create amazing table settings.

Garden tea party

When I finish a job for a client, I always leave room for them to add future finds that they may discover while traveling or shopping.  There’s nothing better than surrounding yourself with items that bring back wonderful memories. Also, your home will reflect your personality; and in addition, be more unique and interesting (like you!).

Kathryn’s book features some actual events that she has hosted. She gives examples of themes with attractive centerpieces, home-crafted invitations, place cards, and menus.  She thinks out every detail and gives the reader tons of inspiration!

The Collected Tabletop

Sprinkled throughout the book are some of Kathryn’s favorite recipes.  I can’t wait to make her Carmel Cake (after the wedding – I must fit into my MOB dress!).

Tea setting

TIP – Antique stores and estate sales are the best places for finding china. Another great source, which Kathryn also uses, is a wonderful company called Replacements.  I’ve used them in the past to replace and add to my china collections.

TIPS – China settings do not need to match. You could use several different styles together if they have the same theme and colors.

Play with color – for example, if you have china with a green pattern, use green bowls or glasses as an accent.

Chestnut Cottage

Chestnut Cottage

Many of her events were hosted in her own home, Chestnut Cottage.  A perfect name for a lovely home that means so much to her.

I hope you enjoy this beautiful and inspiring book as much as I did.  Have fun creating memorable table settings that will make your guests feel ultra-special!

Jewelry for the Home

Saturday, June 18th, 2011

Do you want a fast way to add some sparkle, fun and interest to your home?  I LOVE these cabinet knobs!!! Wouldn’t they would look great on the cabinets in a powder bath?  Try them on the nightstands in a bedroom or on a dining room buffet.

TIP - This is for all of you that love scouring for finds at flea markets, consignment stores or resale shops. Find a fabulous piece of furniture, have it painted and add these little gems! You will have a one-of-a-kind piece of furniture and tons of compliments!

  cabinet and furniture decorative hardware   decorative cabinet and furniture hardware

Decorative cabinet and furniture knobs

 See  for these fabulous knobs, lighting and more.

Glass Wall Art is another way to bring a little color, shine and depth to any wall in your home.  Aren’t these gorgeous! They make a great statement when hung in a grouping like this.  Hang these in the entry of your home, in the dining room or anywhere where you have wall space and want to make a statement.

Tip - Each room should have only one focal point for the biggest statement. Too many and they all lose interest because the eye doesn’t know where to look first.  Make these the star of your room! 

 glass wall art

 glass wall art

Visit for these fabulous works of art and more.