Sunday, August 31, 2014

Prepping for a photo shoot!

I have been driving by this wonderful stone archway for over two years, each time I knew that it was perfect for a photo shoot! But I never imagined that I could pull it off. I'm not a photographer, or a magazine stylist or even as talented as the many bloggers that I follow and use as Mentors. In fact, that should be my next post, my blogger "Mentors" have inspired me through the tough times these past 3 years. 
Any way, I had a dream about this archway, kept it close to my heart and held it dear.

Last month, when I published my new Summer Look Book, I realized that I had learned the lessons, with alot of dogged determination, to do it again. I could publish a new look book for the fall! And maybe, just maybe I could use that stone archway....
But how, how do you work a place like that into a tea party? And even if I could pull a tablescape together, how would I possibly get photos taken? And in time to publish it for the next issue!
First, I needed to shove that little gremlin off my shoulder, the one that keeps planting those seeds of doubt, you know the one I mean?
Then I needed a plan and a tea party theme. Both hit me as I was cleaning the dining room 2 weeks ago.
Which means I should spend more time cleaning my house :)
So I put the furniture polish and vacuum away and started pulling out my favorite dishes. A plan started coming together. I could visualize a tea party, and made a shopping list. I needed a few key pieces and headed to Micheal's and Pier 1 the next day.
I do like to "practice" setting up my tablescape, because I know that it is all in the details and that part doesn't come naturally to me. Here are a couple of photos of the tablescape, set up in my dining room.

I use my phone to take quick shots and record the layout and details so I don't have to remember what goes where. After I check out the shots, I do grab my good nikon, and get a few of the artistic elements captured with that camera. 
Once the layout and placesettings were recorded, I dismantled it and loaded it up into the car. I had huge doubts nagging at me! What was I thinking? Why didn't I just use these photos for the catalog, they did come out pretty well! But I did load the car, telling myself that all it would cost is a few hours of time, no one would know but me if it didn't work.
Off I went, early in the morning because, of course it was due to hit 90 that afternoon. And if I wanted to pull of a "fall" feel to my tea party, I probably shouldn't have the steam rising from the ground in my photos!
I arrived to my location, that fabulous stone archway just sitting there waiting for me. As I unloaded the car, I looked across the street and wondered how many of the office staff would be looking out their windows at the crazy lady setting up a picnic and taking photos?!

Again, I shoved the gremlin of self doubt off my shoulder and pressed on, taking the time to enjoy the process, who cared what the onlookers thought after all! 
I recreated the tablescape and even played around with some new little details.
Then I pulled out both cameras, and with a rising sun and breeze behind my back, (next time I need to remember pins, to keep the tablecloth in place!) proceeded to get some pretty good photos.
Most times I just wing it, change angles, move this a little, or stand on a chair. 
Like I said, I'm not photographer, but I know what I like to see in a photo so I took lots of them!
Then of course comes the time to dismantle again, load the car again and get it all home! 
That's the party I need help with next time! 
I hope that you will take a moment  to browse through my look book and see the photos I've chosen from the photo shoot. I'm pretty happy with them and actually pretty proud of myself for stepping so far out of my comfort zone and getting it done! 
Please do take a moment to let me know what your favorite part of the tea party is!

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Sending Summer out in style!

I am quickly setting the table, while the sun is shining! Rain is due in and I want to enjoy the sunshine on this last hurrah of summer!
I've pulled together my patriotic tablescape, Labor Day still needs some red, white and blue, don't you think?
So put on a pot of tea, grab the crossword puzzle and relax! That's what this weekend is made for :)
I had fun mixed the paisley table cloth with lots of red touches like the pillows 
and the red bandannas for napkins, tucked into the teacups, all from Micheals.

The red bistro set is from Kmart, I know right? But I saw Courtney, from French Country Cottage using them and fell in love! 

I even got a chance to mix in my cute little transferware pieces.

I never tire of my white dishes! This set is 25 years old, yep my wedding dishes and they are still going strong.  Richmond from Johnson Bros., mixed with a few White Scroll pieces from my tea shop. 
White just never goes out of style don't you think?
Well, it's time to make some more tea, and grab finish up my croissant. Cheers &

Happy Labor Day! 

                                                                        I'll be sharing at
                                   Tablescape Thursday @  Between Naps on the Porch
                                                          The Scoop @ StoneGable

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Hooked on.......Window Boxes!

Tonight, as I visit Pinterest I keep crushing on window boxes! I'm HOOKED! 
I would love to have them, I'm just afraid that I would spend a fortune on the plantings because I do not have a green thumb and would therefore have to replace the plants every two weeks :) 
Maybe I should step into this slowly and try this...

then I could work my up to a flamboyant style!

And when I'm feeling confident, maybe I could talk my family into this!

or this!

Of course, my husband would say that the best use of a window box is this, (and it is pretty clever!)

Until then, I'll keep on crushing! You can find all my window box pins here and this will also take you to the original link ;) The clever bathroom storage idea is pinned on "My Style" board.

So I settle for the two large urns I have at either side of my front door
and play with changing those out, and using a bit of silk in those too.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

3 Easy Steps to Create your tea time vignette!

Each month I take the time to create a simple centerpiece on my dining room table. It usually reflects the seasons or a holiday, and ofcourse teatime! I'd like to help you create your own display/vignette with my 3 easy steps.
Fall is just about here, and I am a huge fall fan, not just the cooler weather but of the colors and textures too.
I'm ready to introduce the season so I am changing up my dining room a bit and doing some cleaning too. The dust doesn't help my photography skills at all or I'd leave it! :)

Step 1- Select your container. It can be a tray, a platter, a mirror, an empty frame; find something that fits your tabletop and makes you smile!

Step 2- Go on a treasure hunt around your house and GATHER to your hearts content. Keep your container size in mind, and see what color scheme your eye pulls together. Find items of different height, size and my secret is to find one thing fun or whimsical :)

Step 3- This is where the gratification comes- you'll be so happy you took the time to create your vignette!
Start with your focal point; in this case it is my teapot which sets the tone for fall with it's coloring.
Then find an element that pulls out a color or theme. I used the bird to pull out the green of the floral pattern on the teapot. The magic of any grouping is to use 3's. For my third item I placed a small soup tureen to the left. I just love the lid! One problem- they all had the same height! The easy fix is to stack small dishes and give an item a lift. I placed the teapot on the dishes to vary the height.
As much as I loved the lid of the tureen, I wanted to use the rule of 3 again, so off came the lid and a cute little pot of lemon thyme went in for greenery and texture.
For a bit of whimsy I place 5 little lucite teaspoons in front of the bird, completing my arrangement.
So what do you think? Are you ready to pull out some of your favorite tea time pieces and play?
I can't wait to see the results of your treasure hunts!

P. S.   Remember that cute little lid? Well, it just might end up in another post :)
And a little birdie had me take this shot, which I just adore!

I'll be sharing on:
Feathered Nest Friday at French Country Cottage
Home and Garden Thursday at A Delightsome Life

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Sunday morning musings...

I took a quick trip to Pittsburgh this week to visit my darling daughter. When I say quick, I mean the time I actually got to spend with her, not the time spent in the car. :) Pennsylvania is a huge state, coming from this New England girl who is used to traveling thru 4 states in 5 hours!

She and I did get to spend some time over tea, deciding that the best tea is the one at your own dining room table with a scone hot from the oven and time to catch up.

While getting errands done, and being the tea enthusiasts that we are, we traveled to 4 different tea shops, amazed at how each had a different style, perspective and offering of tea! Some were welcoming to new customers, some were not. Two, in downtown Pittsburgh were very different from each other, yet on opposite corners from each other! I always say, the more tea shops/rooms in a town, the better. One corner held a tea cafe geared toward students and the other was a Bohemian/Turkish style tearoom, in decor and service. You can find Dobra's Tearoom on facebook here
If we had more time, I would have talked my daughter into trying a cup of tea there, just for a different experience, although it was way out of our tea comfort zone!

We headed out to the other side of Pittsburgh to a traditional victorian tearoom, Bella's House of Fine Tea.
Bella, the owner did a great job turning a run of the mill commercial building into a relaxing tearoom. One thing a commercial building offers is a wide open floor plan rather than the small rooms an old house does. She can seat 40-50 people for events, which is unusual for a tearoom
After our quick trip to Bellas, just a browse thru and a conversation with the owner herself, we headed back to the Plum neighborhood to finish our errands. There we stumbled upon a tea bar in a small shopping plaza. It was a nice surprise, lots of room to relax on a leather chair or around a small table. This 4th tea establishment had a completely different feel to it, and as we left we had a great discussion on how each tea devotee can use their experiences to bring tea to the public in a variety of traditions, decors, tastings, you name it!
Which is why my daughter and I decided to steep a cup of tea at home and enjoy each other's company over our own table. Time is precious.
Have a tea-rific day!