Tuesday, December 7, 2021

Merry and Bright


Happy Tuesday! It is beginning to look like Christmas at my home. Today, I am joining twenty table stylists for a Christmas Tablescape Blog Hop. 

Thanks to Rita@Panoply for organizing this blog hop. Rita has recently moved into a new home and hosted two blog hops close together. Kudos to Rita and all she has accomplished.

Please click on the links to all the table stylists at the end of this post. Each table stylist and blogger has a unique style of her own and you will be inspired.

As I thought about what direction to go in for my tablescape, I knew I wanted to use this vintage tablecloth that belonged to my Mother-in-love.  It sparks beautiful memories for me and is merry and bright.

Here is the same tablecloth in 2016 with a more formal look.
 To view the entire post click here.

My plate stack consists of Christmas Tree plates by Spode, Bordallo Pinheiro cabbage ware plates, and Robert Stanley plaid chargers. Sterling flatware is Buttercup by Gorham and the napkin rings are handstitched needlepoint by my MIL. The napkin rings are snowmen, wreaths, Santas, and Christmas trees. Red napkins and goblets complete the place setting.

Tall red spiral candles in crystal candlesticks flank the centerpiece. An English ironstone vegetable dish was selected as a container for the flowers and placed on a contemporary red lacquered tray. The ironstone lidded dish was bought some years back and has looked pretty in a cabinet. This is the first time I have used it and I love its size for a flower arrangement. As I arranged the flowers, I remembered I bought the ironstone piece at a holiday bazaar from a blogger you might know, Marian Parsons, aka Miss Mustard Seed. 

For the centerpiece, I choose red carnations and added pittosporum greenery cut from my garden. Variegated Pittosporum is a great scrub for color in your garden and is useful for flower arranging.
 Martha Stewart says when conditioning carnations be sure to make your cut just above one of the nodes that run up the flower's stalk. This will allow the stem to more easily draw the water it needs.

Do you notice anything here besides seeing a close-up of the Christmas tree napkin ring? Yes, the charger is not plaid. I went back to the store to buy more chargers and they had sold out!!! Procrastination does not pay!

After I loaded all the pictures I started thinking the red tray under the flower arrangement was too harsh. This white platter stands out less. What do you think?

Sometimes you know it needs something but you can't decide. 

Here, I added a runner! I need to leave well enough alone!

 Wishing each of you a very Merry Christmas. 

✨Blessings to you and your families this Christmas season.🎄
For to us, a child is born, to us, a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6

For wonderful tablescape inspiration click on the links below:

Everyday Living - A Nutcracker Parade
Pandora's Box - "I can't decide..."
Hyacinths for the Soul - Traditions ~ A Tablescape Blog Hop
Living with Thanksgiving - Merry and Bright
Tablescapes at Twenty-One - Winter Sports
Corner of Plaid and Paisley - Evergreen and Gold Christmas Table
The Painted Apron - Christmas Trucks and Trees
Red Cottage Chronicles - A White Christmas Tablescape
Life and Linda - Gnome for the Holidays
Belle Bleu Interiors - Christmas Blessings
The Bookish Dilettante - Dreaming of a Pink Christmas

Blessings to you and your families this Christmas,

Monday, November 8, 2021

Blessings At Thanksgiving


Today, I am joining a group of table stylists for a Thanksgiving Blog Hop. This group of stylists always amaze me with innovative ideas for table styling. The links to each blogger's table can be found at the end of this post. A special thank you to Rita @ Panoply for coordinating this hop in the midst of packing and moving. We appreciate you, Rita.

Thanksgiving is less than three weeks away. I hope my tablescape will give you an idea or two for your Thanksgiving table. 
We will be going to my daughter's home for Thanksgiving. However, they will be here this weekend and I am hoping the flowers will still be nice. 

Fresh bittersweet is very hard to come by here. So finding this faux bittersweet that looks very real made my day a few years back.

Candlelight creates atmosphere. The soft glow is calming and cozy. Your guests instantly feel special.
 A pair of brass candelabra on each side of the flower arrangement provides light and adds ambiance and symmetry.

The centerpiece container is a soup tureen from a set of Eschenbach Bavarian china sitting on the platter from the game bird set. I used Costco roses in reds, corals, and yellows along with Sasanqua greenery cut from my garden.

Arteitalica flutes were a special splurge for our 50th wedding anniversary this August!

These game plates found at Brimfield antique show years ago are used every Thanksgiving at our house. This is the first Thanksgiving to add the round velvet placemats. The gold chargers and gold flatware pick up the gold in the border of the antique game plates.

I am enjoying the gold budding leaf napkin rings my son's family gave me for my birthday. For different look using them, you can view here.

The roses are continuing to open. I have added flower food several times and sprayed them with Crowning Glory to help the flowers last longer.

I consider it a blessing to have been a part of this tablescaping group since 2016! I have learned so much from all of you. Thank you Chloe, for inviting me to participate in this blog hop.

I also count this cabinet as one of my blessings this Thanksgiving. It was made by my husband's great grandfather. It holds many dishes and linens I use for tablescaping.
  Also, in this room is a painting by his great grandmother.

The Chinese lady in the background was painted by my husband's great-grandmother. I feel very blessed to have these two family pieces.

I moved the flower arrangement after I photographed my table to our family room where I would see it more often. 

It would be very easy to get used to fresh flowers in your home all the time! They add so much!
 We are so blessed! Thank you, my readers, for your kind comments and friendships. Thank you tablescaping buddies for your inspiration and friendship. I look forward to reading and viewing all your tablescapes. .🦃🍁🦃

"Enter His Gates with Thanksgiving And His Courts with Praise. Give thanks to Him and Bless His Name."
Psalm 100:4

Visit the bloggers below for Thanksgiving Tablescape Inspiration

Everyday Living - We Gather Together
Home is Where the Boat Is - The Softer Side of Thanksgiving
Panoply - Thankful
Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One - Home for the Thanksgiving Holiday 2021
Pandora's Box - Leopards and Checks
My Thrift Store Addiction - Vintage Thanksgiving Breakfast Table
The Little Yellow Corner Store - Celebrating Thanksgiving a Little Differently
Me and My Captain - Football AND Thanksgiving
Life and Linda - Thanksgiving with Elegance
The Painted Apron - Pumpkins and Pickups
Corner of Plaid and Paisley - Thanksgiving 2021 - A Bit Boho
Living With Thanksgiving - Blessings at Thanksgiving
Belle Bleu Interiors - A Heart Full of Thanksgiving
Dinner at Eight - A Seasonal Table at Thanksgiving
The Bookish Dilettante - We Gather Together


Monday, November 1, 2021



Buongiorno. Today, I am sharing our trip to Tuscany (Warning: picture overload!) and I am glad you are here.
    Tuscany is celebrated for its breathtaking natural beauty. The simplicity of the land dense with olive groves and vineyards, cypress, and pine was thrilling. The beautiful views of the lush valleys evoked a sense of tranquility and awe.

This view is from our nontraditional hotel L'Olmo which is near Pienza, a walled hilltop town in Tuscany. 

Our hotel was surrounded on all sides by rolling hills. Search L'Olmo, Localita Monticchiello on Google Earth and you can see the vast rolling hills surrounding it.

Hurray for modern technology. This is a screenshot from Google Earth of L'Olmo.

L'Olmo is a converted stone farmhouse, circa 1600, with a courtyard terrace and an outdoor pool.

When we arrived at L'Olmo there were storm clouds on the horizon. 

A view of the fertile fields surrounding L'Olmo, where semolina wheat is grown.

This is a
 zoomed-in picture of the hilltop town, Pienza that you could see in the distance from our hotel. It is very hard to get a good picture from a moving car on the curvy roads.

Another view of Pienza.

Our bedroom at L'Olmo.

We were surprised but pleased the staff offered to serve our dinner in our room our first night. Our breakfasts were served outside under the arbor near the pool area.
 The staff went beyond the call of duty to ensure we all felt safe.

The spacious rooms were lovely view and had a great view from the second story.


Tagliata al Rosmarino/Tagliata Beef with Rosemary

I  remember the meal being delicious and must have stopped taking pictures after this course because I don't have any other pictures of the meal.
 Italian menus include:

 Primi Piatti/First Courses
Second Piatti/Second Courses
Contorni/Side Dishes

 But for us, that is too much food. Often we shared courses or skipped a course.
 You can find L'Olmo's menu here: www.olmopienza
If you are interested you can search their Instagram page at olmopienza. Their pictures are fabulous showing the different seasons.

The sunset from our room was glorious.

This iconic farmhouse on the hill viewed from our window was beautiful at any time of day but especially as the sun set.

Italian breakfast (prima colazione) under the arbor.

On our first day, we visited two wineries and an organic farm and restaurant called Podere Il Casale.

This link has beautiful photos from Facebook
https://www.facebook.com/podereilcasale.pienza/ This is an aerial view from a drone that shows the extraordinary view.
They add videos often so scroll down their site to see more videos.

Instagram link is here which is also intriguing. Since I've been home from this trip I realized I could have prepared more before the trip using Instagram sites and Facebook sites. All hotels and venus have them now. 

This picture does not do the beautiful view justice. This panoramic view is stunning of the Val d 'Orcia valley. When we were there in September the fields had been recently plowed ready for a new crop of wheat. I can just imagine how beautiful this is to see miles of golden wheat growing. 

Our lunch of different cheeses and organic tomatoes, all processed and grown on-site at Podere ll Casale.

We could not resist buying this cookbook from Podere II Casale. It tells about the owner's dream thirty years ago of growing their own food organically and sharing it with others. Sandra and Ulisse have raised five boys on this podere(Italian for farm) and have fulfilled their dream and more. 
The yummy chocolate pistachio cannoli along with an expresso ended a fabulous lunch. The expresso was so good we bought a bag of their organic beans to bring home.

Use your imagination here because the picture doesn't do justice to the venue.  Beyond the canopy is a  view beyond words. 

Our host and guide, the unforgettable Sandra, explained how her famous pecorino cheeses are made. 


Cypress trees line the road near Monticchiello, Tuscany. 

The hilltop towns of Pienza, Montepulciano, and Monticchiello were near L'Olmo where we stayed in Tuscany. These hilltop towns date back to the 1500's.

Tuscany Dolce Vita- Link to Rick Steves Tuscany on YouTube - This is a fabulous overview of Tuscany. A must-see. ( click on the link and then click again on next prompt)

Gelato in Pienza.

We missed the opportunity to visit La Foce Gardens because it was rented out for a private party. I was very disappointed but I have recently ordered this book in the English version. I can't wait for it to arrive.

Our travel agent, Destination Europe, does a tremendous job of finding great hotels and tours. This is our Italian guide and driver Chiara from Montalcino Wine Tours. We finally got to see each other's faces after mask-wearing all day. This is the fifth trip Destination Europe has assisted us with travel plans and we highly recommend them. Thank you, Kayla and Sarah.

The grapes were almost ready for harvest.

This was a family-owned winery that has been in the same family for generations.

Pienza region is famous for its Vino Nobile. 

This was a gorgeous view of the vineyards of La Berne winery through the window inside the tasting rooms. The owners are delightful and so interesting. Again the picture does not do it justice.
We also toured Croce Difebo in Montipulciano. It is an organic vineyard and they work very hard. They do not use chemicals on their vines. Particular care is taken to prune the vines and grapes for a better harvest. 

Monticchiello- La Porta Osteria

Stunning sunset.

Our dinner at La Porta in Monticcheillo was delicious and the view on the balcony overlooking the rolling hills and sunset was memorable. 

When we explored Montepulciano, I had the best dish of the whole trip.
It was tagliatelle ragu with black garlic. I would love to have the recipe. Have you heard of black garlic?
A pasta-making lesson would be extremely fun.

Grazie Mille for staying with me reading this long blog post! There was so much more!

I always learn more about the region I have just visited when I get back home and prepare a blog post. Is that true for everyone? Seems like I never research enough before we go.  I just googled Val'd Orcia and found beautiful pictures of the different seasons. You might want to check that out also.
Ciao,  🇮🇹