Wednesday, December 30, 2009

It's a Wrap

Today I had the luxury of spending a few minutes checking a few of my favorite blogs; and as seems to happen, one great blog tipped me off to 10 other great new blogs. I found one called and was interested by all that I saw. Sande stocks the Paris bird paper that I used for my Romantic Homes shoot, and I'll keep an eye on her blog and site next time I need a super cute wrap!
Sande is the pro, but I thought I did a pretty good job on my wrapping for my shoot for Romantic Homes. I had originally wanted to use a French-themed color combination for the gifts, but couldn't find just the right shade of satin ribbon, so I decided to use what I had on hand and add in a few other complementary wraps. I started with the French Bird, Postcard and Paris Map wraps that I got at Rogers a few months ago, then added in the presents wrapped in black & white toile-ish paper from the Drug Store in Newport. Each of those dressed up in red to unify; with a nod to my latest-favorite Dutch book, I used taupe and white tulle as well as "petticoat tulle" on a few little gifts, also tied up in red. Lastly, I found the red with white scrolly paper at Rogers, and added in the white bows with a little glitz of glitter dots.

Not bad? I thought it was cute, and interesting, but not far off from classic....

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas everyone!! This Christmas has been a long time in the making, and I was so happy to see the end result tonight: my large family, again, around a lovely table with lovely food. I cooked a 12 lb prime rib (bone in) that was on the a point/bien cuit side as requested. The table was rosy and the room was aglow; it was all as I had hoped. AND everyone was on time this year, YEAH!
Everyone took home their sachets and medals, but in the end I kept most of the postcards. My Dad was mad at first; did we only have pillows for dinner??!
Needless to say there was mass gift giving and unwrapping, and now I am just totally exhausted. See you in the morning; probably around raccoon time!

Santa's Arrived, in a Fur Suit

Honey woke me up with a few clucks tonight at 1am. I immediately heard the same strange noise...something... chewing on plastic...? We crept down to the kitchen and turned on the outside light, at the gate. Nothing. Hmmm. Suddenly, there was this year's version of Santa, a large raccoon, standing on its hind legs, begging, looking at us, in front of the kitchen door. Another light on, but I couldn't get the camera for a photo. Honey was beside herself! The 'coon had been chewing through the plastic of the bag of potatoes Mom bought today for Christmas dinner, sitting right outside the door.

Soon, there were 3 large raccoons at the gate. Looking up the stairs at us, while Honey watched intently from my arms. OK I confess, every Christmas eve, we have seafood; tonight shrimp and a lobster. Throughout the year, I bury shellfish remnants in the compost far away in the garden, but on Christmas eve, I leave the box of shells and discard on top of the compost heap, for the raccoons, which I call our Critters. It's my Christmas Gift to the Critters.

Anyway, I threw a few shrimp, one at a time, out the door and down near the gate. Each time someone got their little hands under the gate to grab it, or squeezed in around the gate to retrieve. Each time I then saw three sets of eyes waiting, watching, begging.

My friend Susie has wild raccoons she feeds in the middle of Long Beach. Stephanie used to have a pet raccoon in Florida, until it dismantled her kitchen, completely. Napoleon also met Mommy Raccoon with her 5 kits here at the house in a tree stump, until she took a quarter-sized chunk out of his cheek. They are fascinating and clever creatures but I don't want to encourage them, unless it's Christmas eve....

Anyway, couldn't go back to sleep so I have been wrapping presents the last 3 hours. Photos of those tomorrow.....bonne nuit and Merry Merry Christmas!!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

La Grenouille

Today there was a review of La Grenouille in the NYT. If I had to name my top 5 restaurants in the whole wide world, this one would be on the list. I have been there a few dozen times, most memorably with my Mom, before we saw Sarah Brightman at Radio City Music Hall. Henry Kravis was at the table next to us, though my Mom had no clue when I mentioned his name; it was another era, and at that time Henry was the King of NYC. Anyway, slide into the red banquette and read the menu by the shaded light fixture on your table, see the towering flowers above you, experience attentive but never too-much service, and taste the best darn classic French cooking you'll ever have, and you are in heaven....and be sure of course to order the chocolate or grand marnier souflee to finish...

I have a copy of Charles' book on floral arrangement and tonight I'll go take another look at it. Magnificent. Spectacular.

With the passing of just about every other truly classic French restaurant in New York (brasserie-food does not count!), it's wonderful to know that La Grenouille is still there. I will be in NYC end of next month; perhaps I'll make a res.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Puppy Love

Tell me you are tired of seeing photos of puppies or babies, and I will tell you that you are one jaded person.....just look at little Honey, posing for a photo, then suddenly deciding she will keep looking at me while giving the adjacent candlestick a quick lick; posing on the tree skirt, getting in the presents....she wants to see and taste and experience the world. Not to mention her teeth are coming and in and she loves to chew. We can take lessons from puppies and babies....anyway, isn't she adorable?? We love her to bits....

Romantic Holiday Shoot

Yesterday Romantic Homes Magazine came to our house to shoot for next year's holiday issue. While I always do up the house for Christmas, this year I did it a little bit extra, and I am proud of what I got done, especially since it was 100% "me"-- no help from Mom, no help from my dear Friends; it was a lot of nights up past midnight, especially the table sachets, and a lot of mornings up at 4am, like adding the birds nests. While there was some planning, and working with all the decorations we have collected, in the end there was the dash of sponteneity that made the scene unusual and fresh: the date cluster at the door, the ribbons on the table, the flowers were done quickly and casually, the scattering of vintage cards. This is what made it fun and fresh, to me.

I will have to wait and see what the Editor chooses for the layout, but I can tell you that their photos were 1,000x better than mine. But here are a few quick shots.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Santa's Helper

I had van problems today that brought me back to the house mid-morning. Thankfully, I had my little helper at my feet all day long, as I got two trees and garland, brought them home and got into decorating the house up. Honey fits right in with our family, she loves Christmas as much as we do: chewing on greens, stealing my wide red ribbon and running through the house with 20 yards of it, chasing after the empty spools, burrowing in the are just a few shots. I got most of the big tree decorated today, while my Mom commented from the sofa, but that was OK. I want to do it just so this year. I got misc other decorations done today; I'm going to wait on The Magazine to show you all the details; I did find out that the Puppy Shower will be in the March issue so more on that in the next 8 weeks....

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Sweet little Sachets

Today I am going to Lido Isl

and for their home tour and holiday boutique; I am bringing some baskets, but also some of the sachets that I have been making for Christmas table favors. The sachets are all made with vintage fabrics, and in some cases lace overlays or with a little French linen lace that came from one big lot I bought, which came from a chateau in the Loire. I added a little red bow and religious medal from France; they are sweet little sachets; my camera is having a hard time focusing on the group of them, but this gives you the idea....

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Chucky's Bride and other

A few days ago, no one had anything done for Christmas, and I've been working on it behind the scenes here for a few weeks so I felt a little ahead. Now all of the sudden, everyone else has their house decorated, and I feel behind, like I should have everything done. Well, it's actually been sort of a negotiation on some points, and some ongoing edits. For example, I thought my first pass of the toy basket was pretty cute, but then Leah came over and said Oh No, you can't use that dollie, she looks kinda scary, like Chucky's Bride or something. Well, I told her, many years ago, my Nana gave me and my sister these beautiful Madame Alexander dolls, a blonde one for my sister, and a brown haired one for me; I didn't think they ever looked scary! Anyone, out went my sister's dollie, and my brown haired doll will be in the cart, except Leah took the bridal veil off of her and put it on the teddy bear. I still have to get the rest of the Christmas stuff down and add the musical instruments etc to the cart. In other news, I bought these great fragments topped with coral from Oma for my birthday present ("to Me from Me"), and added in my Italian angel. I think she's a former Virgin Mary who lost her crown and gained some wings, but anyway she looks great in the dining room. I hate my camera for these kinds of shots; that flash- I can't figure out how to turn it off! The magazine's shots will be perfect; they are the pros. Last night I also started the table favors, and I'll try to finish them before the end of the week. Meanwhile I have a full day, including a board meeting this afternoon, do my Dad's billing for him as it's first of the month, get ready for a show tomorrow and go to downtown LA if I can today. Whew; gotta get going now....