Wednesday, July 30, 2014

All In The Details: The Shell Seekers


Wouldn't you agree that it can be the smallest details that make a house feel like home?  I'm a big believer that joy can be found in the little things, and that you can make magic with collections, objects and touches that tell a story about you. 


Barefoot in the sand, listening to the waves, walking the beach and searching for sea shells just feels like summer. It's the excitement of a week at the shore when school days are still in the distant future and vacation will stretch on and on.


A bowl of blue tinged cockles from Nantucket... 


...or moon snails from Whidbey Island, bring back long lovely days.


In blue willow at my friend Dana's....


Or keeping clam outside at Heidi's...


Something pretty tucked away in a corner.


A little bit of summer all year long.

Of course, the best shells are the ones with a story - that you found on a visit to your Grandmother's beach house or that vacation in Hawaii...  But that doesn't mean the ones you track down in less traditional ways aren't as pretty. No time to get to the shore this summer? You can still collect them here, here or even here.

Where's your favorite place to seek sea shells?

Monday, July 28, 2014

The Perfect Hostess Gift: Lobster Boil Edition


Did you have a lovely weekend? Summer returned to Seattle and we took full advantage of every minute. Breakfast on the back porch, dining with friends, getting out on the lake, taking a long, tough hike in the mountains. But my favorite summery moment was the annual lobster boil. Every year our corner grocery flies in lobsters from Maine ready for the pot. We grab a few and all the fixings and head to friend's home for a lobster feast...



 

Summer is full of so many wonderful events, I love to keep a stash of hostess gifts on hand. Paper Placemats, a coordinating kitchen towel, some cocktail napkins and a hand-painted tag seemed just right for our lobster festivities...


And here are a few other lobster-lovely gifts perfect for lobster night or a weekend at the beach house: 



Have you gotten your claws on any lobster this summer?

Happy Monday! XO

Friday, July 25, 2014

Blue And White For A Blogger's Lunch


One of the best things about blogging is connecting with like-minded people from around the world - and on the opposite coast. When the lovely Sandy of You May Be Wandering got in touch with an invitation to a Blogger's Lunch that she and Tina from The Enchanted Home were planning in Connecticut, I was ready to hop on a plane. But time commitments in Seattle made that impossible and I haven't quite figured yet out how to be in two places at once. So instead, I settled for sending some little gifts that would allow me to be there in spirit...





Some tags made from an illustration I had on file. Pretty shimmery jelly beans from candy store favorite The Confectionery. Blue and white flower seeds in pretty packaging. Some Caspari hankies. All tied up with a dotted ribbon for a bit of blue and white to pop onto a place setting:


Here they are at the luncheon with a few other goodies (photo courtesy of Tina from The Enchanted Home):


How fun to feel like I had a place at the table, even though I couldn't be there! Here's to all my blog friends who I would have loved to chat with in person.

Do you ever put together party favors for your guests? What are your favorite things to give?

Hope you have a lovely weekend full of plenty of great conversations and connections. XOXO

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

The Secret To Lasting Hydrangeas


Aren't hydrangeas just the summeriest flower? They speak of bike rides to 'Sconset, visits to the shore and sunny mornings in the garden with a cup of coffee and some shears...

 

They can be a bit finicky, though, and even when I split their stems carefully, oftentimes their heads start to wither and droop after a couple days.


But my friend Dana (she of the blue and white) gave me the best tip - bring a container of ice water with you when you go out to cut hydrangeas. Plunge them in as soon as you've clipped them. You can split the stems later when it's time to arrange them. It totally works! Now my bouquets last for days...


These little guys have been in my powder room for nearly two weeks and are still going strong.

Do you have any tips for making garden-fresh flowers last?

Hope your Wednesday blooms beautifully! XO

Sunday, July 20, 2014

A Wauwinet Welcome: Your Nantucket Home Away From Home


Did you have the chance to lounge this weekend? Our weather shifted towards gray, but there were still sunny moments for impromptu wine country picnics and dinner at a sidewalk table in our neighborhood. But with clouds in the forecast this week, I'm wishing we were joining our friends Gen and Denis on Nantucket. And whenever Nantucket comes up, so does our theoretical perfect Nantucket house...


Not too big, but just the right size to fit all our guests. Cozy, welcoming interiors. A big porch to sip coffee in the morning or play scrabble on a rainy day. A beach for walking. A stretch of lawn for lounging or playing croquet. Lovely flowers all around. And amazing views of the sunset...






Of course, that just about describes the Wauwinet, the lovely inn on the northeastern point of the island, where guests have been welcomed since 1875. Checking in there, you feel like you've been invited to stay at a friend's home that's been in the family for years... and happens to have a spa, a fantastic chef, and the luxury you'd expect from a Relais and Chateaux hotel.

Perhaps we don't need a house in Nantucket after all as long as the Wauwinet is there to welcome us!

Where is your favorite beach retreat?

Happy Monday! XO

Friday, July 18, 2014

Garden Style Inspiration: Ralph's in Paris


Summer is just made for alfresco dining and long evenings with friends, sipping rosé on the terrace, don't you think? Our garden redo rolls on, and we are far from being photo-ready, but last weekend, a hot Saturday night called for dinner outdoors. So much time had been spent choosing materials, okaying hardscapes and planting plans, that the styling of it all - taking it from a pretty blue stone terrace to an actual garden room - hadn't been given much thought.


So out came the old picnic table. The dining room chairs moved outside. A quick trip to Red Ticking yielded the perfect blue and white napkins. A new table cloth from Anthropologie delivered a French vibe - but it was the detail of tying a pretty ticking stripe ribbon round the napkins that inspired - it brought to mind Ralph's in Paris.


Have you been to Ralph's? The restaurant in the Ralph Lauren store in St. Germain des Prés boasts one of the loveliest courtyards ever. The blue striped pillows and cushions and iron chairs have an unmistakeably Frenchie feel... but at the same time would be equally at home on a veranda in the Hamptons.

 
It's this perfect marriage of French and American style that I would love to bring to the new terrace of our shingled home, which is full of vintage Parisian finds. Here's some inspiration: 


Vintage iron furniture is definitely in order. Some grain sacks and tickings, a miss-matched collection of blue and white transferware...perhaps some rattan and a blue and white garden seat or two for good measure...

Where to find it all? Red Ticking, Atelier de Campagne, French Larkspur, My French Country Home Brocante all serve up lovely bits of French Vintage. I'm sure Ralph Lauren Home would be good for a pillow or two et voilà: hopefully by next summer our terrace evenings might be mistaken for dinner at Ralph's.

What's happening in your garden these days?

Hope you get to enjoy the outdoors this weekend! XO

Images: 1&2/My photos, 3/via, 4/via, /5/via, 6/7/via, 8/via, 9/via, 10/via, 11/via, 12/via, 13/via

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Butter, Sugar, Flowers








It was back to The London Plane last night. This time for a food and wine pairing class with chef Matt Dillon and wine guy Marc Papineau. Too much deliciousness - in our glasses, on our plates and in the good company all around - to leave room for much to say. But aren't those the best nights? The ones that remind you that there are only a few simple ingredients to a well-lived life?

If you live in Seattle, The London Plane offers all sorts of yummy things - breakfast, lunch, wine, nibbles, treats to bring home and wonderful classes. Check them out if you haven't already.

What are your key ingredients to a well-lived life?

Happy Wednesday! XO

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