Monday, January 13, 2014

Winter White Table

Yes, I'm still going on about this. We're on to winter now! 
We did something we haven't done in years: hosted an adult dinner party. I have been hesitant to talk about this because we only invited as many friends as we could sit at one table, and believe me when I say we barely skimmed the bucket of friends we would have liked to have over. So if you weren't invited, and you probably weren't, no hard feelings. I mean we didn't really even like the guests who did come over!

Here is the basic table, china, charger, silver, everything you need besides the napkin. It's nice but boring.

Now here is the same table, only jazzersized up with candles and I walked around the house and collected all the silver and white Christmas decorations I already owned.

In haste I sent this picture to my Grandma and asked "what should I edit? It's too much, right?"

She quoted Liberace and told me to keep it all, as is. 
The white feather trees were a little too tall to talk over, so once we all sat down I replaced them with the bunch of babies-breathe you see on the back buffet.

Something I'll never do again because they take so long: instead standard place card holders, I painted a peg-person ornament for each guest. Again, I ran this past my Grandma who I thought would talk me out of it, but instead she talked me into it. "They'll probably forget about the food you served, but will remember their ornament every year."

Here is where I wish I had thought ahead: I was planning on putting each peg-person in a little white box and tying it with a silver ribbon. Like little white coffins on each plate. But Justin said No! Let the guests find them self on the table, standing on a plate! Which was a great idea, only I had painted the guests in clothing they usually wore, and if I had thought they were going to be out in the open I would have painted them in white, gray, or blues to match the table. *Sigh*, you just can't think of it all. The real kick in the pants is that my guests showed up in, get this, color coordinated clothing! Noticing that I color coordinate my family each week for church, the guests conspired to color coordinate for the dinner party. They were in black, white, gray, or silver, which is to say they would have matched what their peg people were wearing!! I wouldn't have been able to handle it.
Coming up next, Woodland Valentines Table! Kidding. I think. 

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Woodland Table for Fall

Okay, let's not make this any longer than it needs to be. You'll be relieved to hear there are NO fairy houses to be found. I've moved on.  In deed, this table was rather quick and inexpensive. A quick note about the weather this day: dark, rainy, blustery. Perfect for enjoying the warm glow of candles and eating soup. Then right as I pulled my camera out, the sun burst through the clouds, just to ruin my photos. It retreated for the rest of the day.
Basic dishes plus a brass charger.
Here is what the table is composed of:  a table runner made of sticks. I bought it a few years ago, and let's just say it's paid for itself. Dried woodland animals made of sticks and straw, sitting on a brass pedestal with dried moss underneath them. Gold candles. Books in rusty colors. Acorns, they are free.99 around here in fall. And most importantly..

Leaves! Lots and lots of gorgeous fall leaves. You can't buy flowers this beautiful this time of year. These all came from  my yard. I pruned a few bushes. A small downside is that you can't set out the leaves far in advance, they dry out and get crunchy. So I picked and pruned on the morning of my lunch, soaking myself in the pouring rain. All for a "pretty table" that was thrown my direction.

Wait, how did these get in there?
Acorn and maple leaf cookies for dessert.

In my humble opinion, a successful color scheme for fall requires a fair amount of self control. I had aubergine, rusty orange, bright orange, red, or golden napkins I could have used. But but keeping most everything else neutral,  the saturated color of the leaves really stand out.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Woodland Table, Butterflies, Spring, and Summer

Maybe I'm milking this theme for all it's worth, but last spring Violet turned 2 and eventually I had a little lunch with her in mind. At the time, her 2 most favorite things were Purple and Butterflies. Any shade of purple or any mirrored shape that could be construed as butterfly delighted her. She constantly called out the color or shape at stores. Hey Target cashier! Your scar looks like a butterfly! So how to incorporate both without it turning tacky or Disney? My solution was to use natural materials and greens to offset the cutsey-ness.
Violet dutifully demonstrates how to set the table.

A funny thing happened, Violet use to be so sweet and amicable and then she turned two. 

So here is the gist of how I put together the table: I combined two long rolls of sheet moss to make a table runner. I have used this over and over again. If you try this, you should unroll the packages a day or so ahead of time, they smell strongly of old moss and glue. Then I put a mossy log along the center of the table.

Bring in spring flowers, like violets, or ferns or greens you have growing in pots on your front porch, and forget that you are a grown woman and add lots of butterfly picks to them.

Add in loose cuttings of flowers or leaves and place in bud vases above each plate.

A small mason jar with greens and butterfly. Did I catch a butterfly for each girl? (I did look into having a box of live butterflies delivered that Violet could open on her birthday.. it was ridiculous.) No, it's a hair-clip! Here's how you make it: you could buy the pack at Michaels, rip off the metal hanger, and hot glue on a bobby pin. Like you couldn't have guessed.

I set the table using my standard dishes and lavender napkins. Feel free to add in little details like mushrooms, birds nest, or scattered flower blossoms if you have them sitting around.

"I", along with my husband and a ladder, hung large feather butterflies from the ceiling with clear fishing wire. Buy a reel of fishing line, and you're good for life. I hung them the night before Violet's birthday and the next morning I found her standing on the table, staring at the butterflies in awe. A picture I only have in my head.
You have a son?

Edible paper butterflies came from Amazon and I always have violets growing in my yard. 

Aggressive Butterfly Attacks Guest with Great Cheekbones!

Girls with their hair clips on.

You'll notice that in some of the above photos I am using lavender napkins and my drapes are brown velvet, while in other photos I am using dark purple napkins and have silvery blue drapes, the flowers are different too. You must be so confused, Jana. You see I did different versions of this lunch, same runner, log, and dishes, different details and seasonal flowers, but similar tune.

I had been itching to set a woodland fairy themed table, but knew Violet was too young to get it. Fortunately we had cousins visit us that gave me just the excuse I needed to go through with the ordeal.

Little fairy houses..

Little fairies hiding under ferns.  (I already talked all about the fairies, here.)

or captured

or as a take home..(I think this was worth the 20 hours I invested in shopping for, learning how to make, and making)

Sometimes guests wore flower crowns

Hey Trevor! Where's your flower crown?

The food.. get it? It's a butterfly.

The End. Stay tuned for Fall and Winter.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Sugary Sweet, Cotton Candy Pink Baby Girl's Room

If something seems off in your life, unsettled. I think I owe you an apology. Almost 3 years ago I teased you with this post: I Love Paris in the Spring Time, about turning the below baby boy's room into a girl's room. I made it sound like I would soon show you the results. Years later I am finally delivering the goods. The room has looked like this for.. the 2 and a half years of my daughter's life, but, you know, I don't like to brag.

Before: I loved this mural. It's hard to see, but the whole room has subtle trompe-l'oeil paneling.

After: like all murals in our house, this took negotiating and patience and Justin did all the work.  Get this, at first he painted ALL FOUR WALLS. But it was too much for me so he covered up all but this feature wall. I had envisioned a pink grove of cherry or crabapple trees and he was willing to oblige.

Proof of baby

note the tiny hanging hot air ballon in the corner-

You may already know this, but I collect old cards. They are so pretty and papery. Technically, I'm told I am a "paper collector". Not a hoarder.

Maybe I should take the opportunity to talk about the color pink in home decor. I like it. It's my husband's favorite in-home color. It is flattering and when it shows up in say, a kitchen or a laundry room, it is a fresh surprise. But do you know the one place it's not really a surprise? In a baby girl's room. Despite it seeming rather expected and maybe over done, I did it anyways because I was just itching for soft baby pink. I'm a sucker for those pink trees every spring.

I thought I should finally show you this room, as next week Violet gets bumped from her crib and I will attempt to squish another child into this tiny space.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

The Craftiest Thing I Have Ever Done, Take 3, Fairy Dolls

Alternate title: We're Not Broken, We're Just Bendy Dolls..(sing it.  Like I did no less than 1,000 times while making these dolls.) 

Also called bendy dolls, flower fairies, or "faeries" if you are truly in the know, tiny dolls, or Waldorf dolls.
How did this start?  You ask, I ask. With most of my follies, it started by imagining a lunch.  A table that was Spring Woodland: mossy, green, woodsy, fairies hiding under ferns.  Then, wait, what if the little girls attending each got a jar that contained not a captured bug, but a tiny fairy, content to be adored?!! A fairy lunch! Not the glitter and sparkles and Disney music playing in the background type fairy party, but a more subtle and imaginative version.  I was really excited but knew Violet was way to young to appreciate any of these details.  I don't want her growing up just assuming that handcrafted little dolls are always just sitting around the house at her disposal, because then she would not appreciate them.

This was one of my early prototypes. Notice how her arms are big and bulky, as if she has been burned in a fire and bandaged. (No offense to burn victims)

But.. my niece Vivian was about to visit, almost age 8 and at the tail end of when she might play with these tiny dolls, so for her, I learned to make them. At first I was tempted to order a couple off of Etsy and call it a day. There are plenty to chose from. But they are expensive and I often wanted to modify them in some way.  So I bought a pattern and taught myself to fish*. 
These were not easy to learn how to make.  The pattern didn't help much. A Craft Expert Friend came over and tried to help me make sense of the instructions. They were still tricky. These sights helped the most: the enchanted tree and the breezy tulip.

Now let's take a look at these dolls!!

In case these don't look impressive enough, know that they are a slender 3 inches in height.

 When I first started, I foolishly thought I that, because they were small, I could keep all my supplies in one shoe box. Ha. This large cookie sheet has been sitting on top of my book shelf for months. And this doesn't even include the sacks of fake flowers.  That's right, fake flowers. What once I abhorred, I now embrace.  I have spent many trips to the craft store combing over the very "silk" flowers I use to condemn. You see, their skirts are made of disassembled fake flowers.  And I am not ashamed.(maybe a little)
 If you look closely, you can see two "boy dolls" made in an effort to include Davy and Whitman in the festivities. Justin made me stop calling them "fairy boys". (no offense to fairy boys)

If I ever give you a tiny doll, know that I must really, really like you, and I must be feeling very generous.  Or I'm trying to win you over.
It took me several tries and some experimenting before I got what works down. (Necklace beads and extra fine tipped oil pens for the face-that was a break through.) But once I showed how to make these to my sister and to my two teenage nieces, they picked it up immediately and made their own variations. If you want to have a tiny doll making party one night at my house, say the word. I have lots of supplies.

I started this in late spring and haven't touched it since then.  I have lots of ideas for Autumn dolls: fall leaves, acorn hats, felt riding coats, etc, but fear I may never get to it. You see, since being pregnant, I like to sit at night. And do nothing. Like a vegetable.

You must have a million questions for me.

And if you sweet talk me, I'll show you pictures of the lunch(es).

*I would have saved a load of money if I had purchased the already made dolls. But just think of the skills I've learned in the process and how far they will take me in life!