Friday, December 16, 2011

Christmas Decorations, Ornaments, Layers and Love

This is Mrs. H.'s tree, it is more fabulous every year.
Here are some good secrets:
*String your lights from the inside out and use miles of it
*Have a ridiculous amount of ornaments, that are interesting and special to your life
*Great Christmas trees are like great charm bracelets--buy Christmas ornaments when you go on trips. A great Christmas tree is unique and personal.

My friend, Mrs. K. has generations of ornaments on her tree. Her house is the perfect example of stylishly mixing different era's. You do not get a room like this, like instant oatmeal. It takes several generations. 

A 60's transition between chrysalis and butterfly.

A luminous Aaron Shikler portrait, delightfully mingles with contemporary glass,
topped off with--
The Perfect Lampshade!!

Home made ornaments, made by our adorable, goofball children are the best.

A bejeweled bird swoops in from the 60's.

This antique fairy, in free fall, is my favorite.

I cherish the paintings of my children the most. This is Mrs. K.'s beautiful Mother.

All of these angels have different expressions. 

Repent, or you will get a lump of coal!

Another angelic interpretation, dangles in the doorway.

An old time Christmas cabin for you to peek inside.

Notice the clever cabin within the cabin?
Hint...look at the shadow box.

This might be the most beautiful creche I have ever laid my eyes on.
Note to all, Christmas celebrates family, birth, life and light, no matter what religion you follow.

More dangling angels from the chandeliers and door ways.

Wrap festive red ribbons around your stuff.

This curvy sofa, in the den, is covered in Sunbrella and is guarded by a  diligent ram.
Watch it!! He has a bit of a look in his eye.
More books, and please note, not covered in decorative paper.
We cannot enjoy the bliss of floating through other people's libraries, if they have covered
 book titles.
I am my books, and Quintessence needs to weigh in on this subject.

I too have this modern creche. All the faces of the adoration figures were people the artist (sadly deceased) knew. You can't see it, but Jesus has the cutest pudgy toes.

Mrs. K., her Grandmother and her Mother celebrated all the art and style of their time. The secret is... that good taste, in any age goes with everything--high and low!!
Nobody does it better!
Merry Christmas to all my bloggy friends.

That is me with Chatty Cathy. The heck with the tree.
I still remember the magic and complete happiness.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The Best Farm Ever Celebrates Thanksgiving with Family and Friends

If you've been following Dovecote Decor for a good while, you remember The Best Farm Ever post.  My friend is an epic hostess/organizer of weekend parties for family and friends. Watch how this stunning family dinner table evolves. Mrs. R. sets the table with her bamboo party chairs that she can stack away when the pool table isn't covered. 

Small arrangements in mint julep cups, make it easy to divide the flowers, and punctuate the long table, without obstructing conversation. Mrs. R. chose a perfect assortment of simple parrot tulips, daisies and berries to complement the Holiday motif. 

The added dimension of the floating sunflowers is brilliant. Sunflowers are hard to work with in arrangements, yet floating in reflective round globes they add a layer of beauty and shine,  to a wide table--note to self. 

The Hurricane lanterns, with orange candles repeat the floral refrain. Low votives scattered along the table glow, adding light and reflection to the beautiful reflective glass and silver. 

My definition of creativity is: mental flexibility. Creating a billiards room, that doubles for dining, is more than smart. Honestly, we play a bit of pool, but we eat more often. Don't be intimidated, be organized and flexible. If you have to add a little table at the end of the table, do it. Do not send the youngest to the children's table if you can avoid it. 

Thanksgiving is our unique American, family holiday, let everybody contribute. Yes, be organized, but let the wild rumpus of cooking begin. This way, everybody shines and shares traditions, recipes and techniques--it is going to make a mess. 

There will be arguments, and things might get burned, gravy might not thicken, but if you expect family time to be, what it usually amounts to, you will laugh and carry on for years, with the gossip and memories. Then, we all do the same crazy thing all over again.  

More baking

You've got to have crackers and wear funny hats. 

Before dinner, Champagne and Kelley's caviar announce the commencement of the evening. This is delicious American, Tennessee caviar, for a fraction of the price.

The dining room is set for serving. The walls are painted with vistas of the surrounding land. 

When it is only family, better to dress for the occasion, it brings out the best in us. The children tuck in first. 

On Friday, here come the friends.  Thanksgiving is football. 

The barn is ready for the onslaught of parents and children. Roberta Freymann fabrics in multiple colors and patterns work perfectly together and look wonderful with the Mexican tiled coffee table. The bold ethnic graphic is what this great wood swathed space needs--more notes to self. 

A 26 year old diplomat, negotiates a complex Monopoly summit of 4-14 year olds.  The little ones cannot add up their cash.  (This photo was taken at a different party last winter). 

Sal Ajro brings delicous wood fired pizza.

Do you see the fire in this drum? They not only warm the bones, but smell deliciously of fall. I would love a pair of these in my courtyard. 

They do double duty as planters. 

This is the other side of the barn with curtains along the covered terrace that close in the winter to make a large festive dining space. What could be better than eating outside in the winter with two roaring fires?

Mrs. R. brings down the previous night's decorations for another festive family evening for 18!

We are Thankful during the holidays for
our great country,
The men and women who protect us,
and our wonderful families.
Thanks also to Mrs. R. and her sister's glorious photographic skills!

Don't forget our spectacular giveaway
for a chance to win our beautiful
faux tortoise shell chest.
First become a follower of Dovecote Decor by scrolling up and following 
the instructions. 
Click through to our store and choose an item you like
Then, Click Here to proceed to our contest at Art by Karena.
Leave a comment, on Karen's blog, for each step you have taken, for 
multiple chances to win! 

Good Luck Everyone! 

Friday, December 2, 2011

Our Paris Trip: Day One Tour

The Hotel du Pantheon was our fortunate hotel choice. Nestled in the heart of the Latin Quarter, in a charming 18th century building, we arrived before check in, yet were generously accommodated with two out of our 3 rooms.

We were delighted by the country French style lobby and the warm welcome and assistance we received from the extremely helpful staff.

Our rooms were utterly charming, though small. I had excellent clothing storage, and the bathrooms were roomy, modern, beautifully tiled and immaculate.

The girls rooms could have used better lighting, but I find that to be true in many hotels. The beamed ceilings, traditional French fabrics and sensational views of the Pantheon and its lively square, made our little nests a true home away from home. Our rooms averaged around $258.00 per night, which we found to be completely reasonable.

Our mission was to join sister #3 and share her Paris highlights while she was on her Junior semester abroad. We charted a path to lunch on the Ile Saint Louis, via Notre Dame to meet up with our precious girl. Alba Rosa from Brilliante blog recommended the Brasserie de l'lle Saint Louis, for its terrific views of the Seine and the flying buttresses behind Notre Dame. Alas, it was shuttered so we selected the Cafe Saint Regis nearby and caught up.

Believe it or not, this was our path for day one--all five and a half miles of it! The red marker is our hotel, the gray marker is our lunch spot, followed by le musee de l'Orangerie and the Cafe de Flore. We proceeded to the right bank marveling at every turn. 

Before we crossed over to the Islands, this pair of intellectuals posed in front of the Chapelle de la Sorbonne, the University's domed church, which was built between 1635 and 1642. It was commissioned by Cardinal de Richelieu who employed the architect Jacques Lemercier to build the church, dedicated to Saint Ursula, in Roman Baroque and Renaissance style.
Crossing over the bridge from the Boulevard St. Michelle in the Latin Quarter, the uniform Haussmann facades create a palatial illusion. Blocks resemble one grand edifice versus the reality of many smaller buildings. It is believed that Haussmann rebuilt 60% of the city of Paris, a dramatic feat of urbanization. Here are some of the dictates of the Haussmann aesthetic:  
  • Ground floor and basement with thick, usually street-lateral, load-bearing walls;
  • second, "noble" floor with one or two balconies;
  • third and fourth floors in the same style but with less elaborate stonework around the windows;
  • fifth floor with a single, continuous, undecorated balcony--eaves angled at 45º.   


 "The Haussmann façade is organised around horizontal lines that often continue from one building to the next: balconies and cornices are perfectly aligned without any noticeable alcoves or projections. At the risk of the uniformity....the rue de Rivoli served as a model for the entire network of new Parisian boulevards."  Wikipedia

Napoleon III, engaged Haussmann to renovate Paris after visiting London. Impressed by the vast parks, and open spaces, he wanted to rid Paris of its unsanitary Medieval, narrow maze-like streets. Politically, it was duly noted at the time, the military advantage to the government, in the creation of long, wide boulevards. The military could easily defend these grand transits and control a city chronically plagued by insurrection. The vast and famous sewer system was simultaneously installed, with exquisitely engineered  aqueducts and reservoirs for fresh water. Train stations were linked strategically throughout the city. After lunch, we tumbled beneath square of Notre Dame to see the excavations of the original settlement of the Parisi. 

On the square in front of Notre Dame you can take a look at km 0 (“Kilometre Zero”), from which all distances in France are measured, and nearby, you will find the entrance to La Crypte Archéologique – Archaeological Museum.

This original, subterranean settlement of the Celtic Parisi, is a logical beginning. It takes about 30 minutes, and gives you a sense of the ancient roots of the city and the strategic aspects of the island.

We head along the right bank, and our Parisian girl strategically walks us through the beautiful flower markets.
Is the look familiar?

Contemporary Parisian shops look a great deal like the stalls at High Point.

Our tour guide tucked us in a side entrance to the Louvre for this dramatic view of I.M. Pei's pyramids.

I'm not kidding, Mr. Potato Head, kept jumping us throughout our stroll through the Tuileries

The Louvre was an overwhelming challenge for day 1, so we headed over to the Musee de l'Orangerie to see the spectacular Claude Monet water lillies. Monet gifted the paintings to the city to create an oasis in a chaotic modern world. Two oval rooms are dedicated to Monet's obsession with shifting light and reflection. We were completely stunned out of our exhaustion.

My Lilly pads were killing me, so as we strolled back to the hotel through Saint Germaine, the most important of the Haussmann boulevards, the girls tucked me in for a cup of delicious tea at the historic Cafe de Flore. 
On our way to dinner, one of the girls instantly recognized the steps from Midnight in Paris, just around the corner from the Pantheon. We waited patiently for our carriage to the past.

We found the past, at L'Ecurie. Complimentary aperitifs and digestifs were served with fresh bread and delicious aioli. The pate was delicious, and I would say our meat courses were O.K. It is tiny, so you need to go early and bring cash, or be prepared to walk down the hill to the Chinese ATM.

The beautiful view from my hotel window was a magical ending to our first day. 

Dovecote Decor has a huge
Art by Karena

Enter for a chance to win this beautiful chest!

The Chest is Solid Walnut with Oak and Brass
28"w x 22"d x 30"h
Faux Tortoise Fine Cast Brass
$1,200.00 retail value.