Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Everyone Wishes For Silver And Gold

Friends, did you catch Rudolph on TV last night? I'm a sucker for all the classic Christmas specials, and I try to watch Rudolph every year, even though I pretty much know every line by heart and end up humming the songs for days.


Burl Ives singing "Silver and Gold" is currently on repeat in my head:

Silver and Gold, Silver and Gold 
Everyone Wishes for Silver and Gold

Elle Decor 

 Canadian House and Home

Country Living

Martha Stewart

 Southern Living

Country Living

Mr. Whale From Red Ticking 2010

Martha Stewart

 Country Living

Country Living

Canadian House and Home

Traditional Home

The Covetuer

Sometimes the best silver and gold decorations aren't on the Christmas tree, they're under it--wouldn't you agree?

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Glory Of Spanish Dress

So, should we return to Spain for a bit? To backtrack a little, our trip actually began in San Francisco last summer at "Balenciaga and Spain" at the de Young museum.


The exhibit's exploration of the influence of the Spanish masters, religious life, dance, the royal court, bull fighting and regional dress on the legendary designer left me wanting more of the country of Velazquez and Goya, of The Sun Also Rises and Flamenco, of Gothic splendor and Moorish influence.

 Vogue

 Balenciaga Infanta Dress illustrated by Eric (Carl Erickson) Vogue 1939

The Infanta Margarita in Las Meninas by Valezquez

Balenciaga Infanta Dress, 1939

We were actually supposed to go to Bhutan this year, but I fell down on the job of planning that adventure. So when I asked Mr. H. where he might want to go instead, I was thrilled when he said Spain!

Cardinal Luis Maria de Borbon y Vallabriga, Goya

 Balenciaga Red Coat 1951

 Balenciaga Show 1951

Before we knew it, the reservations were made, bags were packed and off we went. We spent hours gazing at the Goyas in the Prado, inspecting the Baroque and Gothic splendor of churches and cathedrals, wandering through the narrow streets of Andalusia, staring up at the brightly painted facades.


But where art, fashion, music and culture really came together for me was in a Sevilla taverna where we went to see Flamenco.

 Balenciaga Studio Drawing

It was like watching John Singer Sargent's El Jaleo come to life.

El Jaleo, John Singer Sargent

And as the dancers stomped and whirled, I didn't just see vintage Balenciaga couture...

Balenciaga Summer 1951

I saw the polka dots and lace that have been so predominant on Fashion Week runways in recent seasons. 

 
 Balenciaga Summer 1964

Dennis Oulds/Central Press/Getty Images

Oscar de la Renta

I saw the fluttering layers of chiffon in the Oscar de la Renta dress my friend Dana wore to her 40th birthday party.

Dana's Party Dress

It made me want to take a few Flamenco lessons and buy some castanets and something from the Oscar de la Renta resort collection.

Oscar de la Renta 

By the way, if you're craving a little Spanish inspiration but can't travel quiet that far, you can catch "Joaquin Sorolla and the Glory of Spanish Dress" at the Queen Sophia Spanish Institute. The exhibition, which runs from December 8 to March 10, celebrates, in the words of chairman Oscar de la Renta, "Spain its people, its landscape, and life."


Flamenco Dancer, Joquin Sorolla

It's a place that I think will be influencing me for years to come.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Decking the Halls

Happy Monday, friends. How was your Thanksgiving? And your weekend--have you started decorating for Christmas yet? After celebrating the holiday with my family, Mr. H. and I took off for Whidbey Island--it's just a short ferry ride from Seattle, but feels like a world away.


We've made it a post-Thanksgiving tradition to tuck ourselves away at the Inn at Langley to rest up a bit before the festive whirl and twirl of December. 

 Images from The Inn at Langley

The lapping of Puget Sound out the window, a long walk on the beach, hiding from the rain in front of a fire makes it pretty easy to put off the holiday to-do list, at least for a couple days.

 British Homes & Gardens
 
But now that we're home, I'm ready to dig in and deck the halls... I've said goodbye to the white pumpkins and I'm letting the sugar plums of inspiration dance in my head! 

Here's what I'm thinking will make our home merry and bright this year:

 Southern Living

Mercury Glass is always a favorite - I love how it reflects candlelight.

Traditional Home

White Flowers look crisp and clean-- a White Christmas is a Seattle rarity, so a few white blossoms stand in for snowflakes.

Country Living 
 
White Ironstone--Instead of buying things specifically for Christmas decoration and then packing them away for the rest of the year, I like to use the things I love every day to create holiday magic. Our collection of White Ironstone is makes the perfect containers for white flowers...

 Traditional Home

..and of course, I can't decorate for Christmas without bringing the Blue and White into the show.

Country Living

Vintage Ornaments-- I love adding new ornaments to the tree every year, but my favorites speak of Christmas Past. I've already scooped a few treasures from the local antique mall to sprinkle on the tree and around the house.

 Southern Accents

Windows make a lovely frame for Wreaths and I can't wait to hang one in our newly decorated breakfast nook -- I'll be able to smell the greens when I sip my morning coffee.

 Southern Living

And speaking of perfect frames for wreaths, I think our Vintage Mirrors want to get in on the act this year, too. 

Canadian House and Home 
 
Deck the Stairs -- every year I tell Mr. H that I want to adorn our staircase by winding a garland around the banister, but our "elves" haven't come through yet. This is the year, I've already sent him the link to this post from Eddie Ross that explains how to hang the greens without scratching the handrail.

Country Living

Pomanders--Christmas is a celebration for all the senses and I especially love the scent that a few homemade pomanders bring to a room, plus they add a pretty pop of color to table or counter.

And that's my inspiration list so far -- I'll share some photos as it all comes together.

Have you decked the halls yet? Or are you just making your list and checking it twice? What's the first bit of holiday cheer in your home each year?

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thankful

Happy Thanksgiving, friends! Are you traveling over the river and through the woods? Or will you be hosting this year? What are you most thankful for?

 My Illustration

I'm thankful for pie. My mother's pie. (Really, I wait all year for this pie--apple and pumpkin!) And I'm especially thankful for my lovely mother, who has made every single Thanksgiving dinner that I've ever eaten. Isn't that something? That's too many turkeys to count! Thanks Mom!

I'm so thankful for family and friends, and for all of the wonderful people I've met through this blog. Thanks so much for reading, I truly appreciate it and love hearing from you.

Have a wonderful holiday -- and go ahead and have that second piece of pie!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Delicious Days in Spain

Hi all, thanks for the warm welcome back! I meant to post this yesterday, but had some technical difficulties -- it couldn't have had anything to do with all the champagne I consumed over the weekend (more on that later)!

Anyway, you guys have a sharp eye -- we did dash off to Barcelona...




And Madrid...




And Granada...




And Seville...




We dined and drank...



Gazed, gaped and gushed...




It was heaven. And oh so hard to leave...

I'll sprinkle a few of the highlights in over the next few weeks!

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