Long before I married my husband, we had many conversations about what we wanted our lives together to be like - parenting, religion, finances, politics, families, careers, and education were all topics of discussion. And, of course, flowers. I told my future husband that there were many things in life that I could live without, but fresh flowers were just not one of them. They just make me so happy. I love to walk into a room and see them sitting there. I love all the beautiful colors. I love the way their soft fragrance permeates a room. I love arranging them and picking out the perfect vase.
Luckily, my husband has held up his end of the bargain. Sometimes, he buys flowers for me. Peonies and roses (my wedding flowers) on our anniversary. Surprise bunches of hydrangea or lilacs for no reason at all. But, more often than not, I just pick them up myself at the grocery store or local farmer's market.
Yes, we always have fresh flowers in the house. Definitely a recipe for a happy marriage. :-)
By now, you probably know how much I love pretty candies and confections. I have amassed quite a collection over the years and I always try to find some on my travels. I was going through (and trying to organize) my candy "cabinet" yesterday and I remembered that I never got around to posting on my visit to Laduree in Paris last Summer.
Laduree is a gorgeous French Patisserie that was founded back in 1862. It is known for it's glorious towers of pastel colored macaroons and delicate pastries. If you've seen the movie, Marie Antoinette, then you've see Laduree's incredible work. Now, the pastries are totally yummy and delicious, but the thing I love most about Laduree is the PACKAGING!
And I think you can see why. Laduree is as famous for it's pretty pastel boxes and ribbons as it is for it's candies and baked goods.
Customers are given some choice of packaging and it was so hard to make a quick decision as to what I wanted - especially with the long line of tourists waiting impatiently behind me! I love these round boxes filled with the most beautiful dragees.
I also love the shape of these triangular boxes - they are filled with dragees as well.
The French macaroons are truly delicious, They come in a rainbow of colors and a multitude of flavors like rose petal and orange blossom.
I wish I could have taken some more photos inside the shop, but they are VERY strict about allowing photographs to be taken. I did sneak this shot of a cake that was waiting to be delivered.
And these are a glimpse of the pastries.
Here's some shots of the window display. Soooo pretty!
I wish Laduree shipped overseas, but alas they do not. It may be awhile before I get back there, so for now I will just treasure my little pastel boxes and dream of those incredible macaroons...
I found these stunning pink drinking glasses at Target yesterday. Aren't they pretty! They were part of a new Easter/Spring collection. These are the smaller ones (there is a larger tumbler as well) and they sell for 2.49 each in the store or you can order a set of them here.
I love the detail on these.
The BEST part about these glasses...they are PLASTIC! Yes, plastic! Don't ya just love it when beauty meets practicality! And the funny thing is that they look very similar to these real glasses that I bought at Anthropologie a few years ago.
Anyway, these plastic ones will be perfect for all your Spring picnics and Summer BBQs! I just love them! In fact, I may have to drive to every Target in a 50 mile radius just to get more (our store only had 4). Don't laugh - I've been known to do such a thing. :-)
In the meantime, these have already been appropriated by my daughters. At least I don't have to worry about them breaking...
Oh, and I also found some more goodies for next week, so stay tuned...
These antique French beaded flower bouquets are one of my prized possessions.
I bought them many years, despite the fact that they were not in my traditional color palette. :-) They reminded me of some that had belonged to my grandmother - ones that I used to admire through the glass doors of her china cabinet when I was a child.
The flowers are so delicate and lovely. I love how the wire stems are wrapped in strips of simple linen.
And the detail and craftsmanship is incredible. Each flower head is only about a half an inch wide.
I wish I could find more to add to my collection, but I have never again come across anything quite like them.
Well, I am venturing out today for the first time in over a week! Can't wait to get some fresh air - even if that air is freezing! Off to target to find something fabulous for tomorrow...
Yesterday, I was both thrilled and saddened to find Country Home Magazine's "Farewell" issue in my mailbox.
I was happy to see that the publishers kept their promise to send out one final issue, but looking at that pretty, glossy cover just made me want to cry. I know it may seem silly to mourn the loss of a magazine, especially when this country is dealing with so many real and painful hardships right now. But, Country Home Magazine (much like many other recently shuttered shelter magazines - Mary Engelbreit's Home Companion, Cottage Living, and Domino) provided an endless source of inspiration and creativity for me. I eagerly anticipated it's arrival each month and took great pleasure in perusing each page. I was quite obviously not alone. According to the publisher, Country Home had a strong circulation (as much as 1.27 million back in June, 2007), but simply suffered from a lack of ad revenue.
I can only hope that someday (hopefully, soon), as our economy starts to improve, Country Home will be back. In the meantime, I'll just say "So long for now..."
Luckily, I managed to make it out to Target before I came down with the flu last week. They had just re-stocked the "Dollar Spot" with some new Spring items and I was thrilled to find these...
Aren't they adorable? These little bottles remind me of old-fashioned milk bottles. They were available in several colors with a variety of different saying on them, but I choose these classic white ones with "dream" imprinted on them in pink. I bought ten since they were only $1 each, but I am already regretting not having bought more. :(
There are a million ways to use these, but I knew instantly that I wanted to make a pretty floral arrangement with mine. So, I stopped on the way home and bought a bunch of pink tulips. All I needed to do was trim the stems and add water.
I just placed them in a grouping on my mantel. I love the simplicity of the bottles with the elegant lines of the tulips.
These would also look nice all lined up in a row down a mantel. Or down the center of a dining table.
I just know that I will use these again and again for many years to come. They are so cute and versatile! I just hope there are still some left by the time I feel well enough to venture out of the house again! :-)
I also want to say thank you all for all the comments and emails wishing me a quick recovery! It really brightened my days! Thank you!
I am very fortunate to have two daughters who happen to really love and appreciate many of the same aesthetics that I do. This not only makes it a lot of fun to shop and decorate with them, but it makes me so happy to have something that we can all share together. I was collecting the laundry from my older daughter's bedroom this morning and I was really struck my how beautifully she had arranged everything on her vanity.
She is naturally very artistic and I think she has incredibly good taste for such a young girl.
She picked out almost everything you see in these pictures.
She loves to go antiquing and flea marketing with me. She has a great eye. Sometimes we even argue over who saw something first! She usually wins. :-)
I love her sense of color. I wonder why???
She's put this collection together over the past year. Aren't they sweet?
Now, my little one's vanity is still of the Barbie variety, so I'll spare you those photos, but she's definitely my other "Mini Me". When asked what colors she wanted to use for her birthday party, she replied: "Shabby Chic, Mommy. Lots of light pink and aqua." Ah, another girl after my own heart!
I have been getting quite a few emails lately inquiring as to when I will be opening my online shop, Bee & Belle. To be honest, I had really hoped to have it up and running by now. The site is finished, it's me who is the problem! I have just been so incredibly busy lately. My hope is to have it up in time for the Spring holidays. I have two birthday parties and a few projects to get through before then, so I think a self-imposed deadline of early Spring is cautiously optimistic. :-)
In the meantime, if you would like to be added to my email list, please let me know (email@example.com). This will ensure that you will be among the first to be informed of my official "grand-opening". I thank all of you for all your interest and incredible support! I am so lucky to have found such a wonderful community out there - filled with so many creative and talented people!
I promise. This is it. This is really and truly the FINAL prototype for the crown for the princess party. I know I was planning to make the wallpaper crowns, but our guest list was larger than I thought it would be and they are just way too time-consuming to make. Then, I decided on the bejeweled ones. I really liked them, but I ran out of the aqua colored crowns and you know how little kids are - they all want exactly same thing - so, no good. But, this is it. This is the ONE. I present to you, the "Princess Crown Wreath"...
I like these because they are very girly, will stay on a princess's head while twirling, and are rather simple to make. Here's what you need: 2 pipe cleaners per crown (colors doesn't matter as they will eventually be covered), assorted millinery or craft flowers on wire stems, and lots of ribbons. You will need a scissors, but no glue is necessary.
To begin, tightly twist the ends of your pipe cleaners together, forming a circular shape (your wreath).
Next, separate out your wired millinery flowers and trim the stems to about 2 inches. Begin wrapping the wire stems around your wreath, spacing the flowers at even intervals (I just eyeball it).
Now you are ready to wrap the pipe cleaner wreath base with ribbon. This serves two purposes - it covers the less than beautiful pipe cleaners and it also encases any wire ends that might be poking out. Begin by tying a length of ribbon to what will be the back of your wreath.
Then, just wrap the ribbon all around the pipe cleaner and in between each flower, making sure to overlap the ribbon edges as you go. Finish by tying off where you began.
Add some pretty trailing ribbons and a bow or two to the back.
That's it! A pretty princess hair wreath!
These would also be lovely for a flower girl or a ballet costume. The wonderful thing about them is that you can completely customize the colors.