Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Paris Party

Ooh la la! It was a night to remember on August 4th, when I played hostess for the Gourmet Group to which I belong. My friend, Kristy, started the group back in April and this was our third get-together so far (we meet every other month with a different gal hosting each time). I knew what my theme would be the minute I agreed to join the group months ago. Being a francophile, there was really only one choice for me: Parisian theme, of course!

Knowing my theme in advance really paid off: in April, Michaels had Paris themed decor items for a short while, so I was able to snatch up some charming eiffel tower candles. Also, I've never been so glad to see Christmas - yes, you read that right, Christmas -  items at Michaels in July. You see, I was short three silver chargers for my place settings and wouldn't you know it? There they were at Michaels with the way-too-early Christmas stuff.

I have to admit, I had more fun planning the decorations and ambiance than I did the food menu - and it's a gourmet group for pete's sake! Well, I'm happy to report that the food turned out fabulous (doesn't hurt that we all cook the planned menu together), and the evening was utter perfection  - if I do say so myself :).

I am the worst at remembering to take photos during events - the worst! Thankfully, my wonderful sister grabbed a camera and made sure to get some shots of the setup. Some of the pictures were a bit premature (didn't have silverware set out yet in some pix), but at least it captures the general feel. Did I remember to take photos of the food? Of course not. Of my delightful, lovely friends? Nope. What a nutjob I am! But hopefully the next time I spend forever and a day planning such an event I'll make the time to take some proper photos. As it is, here's what I have:

Fabulously French!

What's a Paris themed party without plenty of Eiffel towers to go around?

Nothing like al fresco dining on a warm summer's eve 

A little dress up for a plain backyard fence

My "Bon Appetit" banner"

Fleur de lis touches inside the house

"Ooh La La" banner

Menus for the different food courses and drinks were framed and placed at each food prep station

My darling hubby used his artistic skills to write out my welcome sign

Merci beaucoup to my gourmet groupies for a night to remember!


P.S. I'll be posting pics soon of my dad's 75th golf-themed birthday party - including home-made miniature golf course!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Ode to the Nester

Two years ago my decorating life changed forever. My husband and I were getting ready to move after living with my in-laws for the past three years (I thought we would be there one year max). I was so excited to start decorating my own place again; once we found our perfect home (albeit as renters), I started to mentally decorate before we moved in. I had a general idea of my style tastes (french, shabby chic, romantic, vintage) but no real plan as to how my vision could flourish on our tight budget.

Enter the Nester.

We needed curtains in our new bedroom, so one night I began to search Google to see what came up. That's when I came across a rather strange listing that mentioned the word "mistreatments." Intrigued, I clicked on the link and was introduced to the Nester's world. Having never read or followed a blog before (wasn't that for political junkies?), I was enthralled by this woman who wrote with a warm, slightly sassy tone that bestowed decorating power to her readers.

This was it! What I needed, what I wanted, what I didn't know existed! Her conviction that "it doesn't have to be perfect to be beautiful" seemed to reach through the computer and take hold of me. I felt freed, released from the bonds of design perfection. I too could make a beautiful home without obsessing over minor imperfections.

I read and read and read her blog posts. I was up until 3:00 in the morning that first night and way past midnight the following 3 nights. I may have been mildly obsessed excited.

She convinced me that thrifting is cool, there is magical power in a can of white spray paint, and you really don't need curtain rods or even a sewing machine to make fabulous window "mistreatments."

I learned so much from reading Nesting Place that first week. And from the Nester, I was introduced to many other amazing bloggers that helped shape my design sensibilities. More to come on those gals in another post.

Here are a few of the many lessons learned from the Nester:

Hang a door on your wall (the banner's leftover from a party)

Decorate with pretty white plates

Go ahead and mistreat those windows (don't worry, your windows will thank you for it)

Paint a piece of furniture

So this, my first blog post, serves as a heartfelt thank you to the Nester ~ Queen of home bloggers!!

I'd love to hear from you... who/what is your decorating inspiration?

Thanks for visiting and I hope you'll come back often!