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Friday, August 29, 2008

A store to adore...Pom Pom Interiors

For years I have been reading about Pom Pom Interiors in various magazines such as Home Companion and Romantic Homes.
On my recent trip home from California I couldn't help but make a slight detour and visit one of their luscious stores.

I had a "Oh my goodness!" moment when I saw their sign.

It is quite similar to the front page of my own website. This is merely a coincidence. Just ask my graphic designer, April, who worked with me for months. (smile)
I didn't take any photographs while in the store. I was to busy drooling.

Also, I was tempted to take a nap.

This image is for those who love the classic combination of black and white.

Pom Pom is famous for their various lighting fixtures. They travel to Europe several times a year to find such beautiful chandeliers.

I'll take two of the blue, and throw in that grand old horse.

I could have lingered for hours in the outdoor garden area. It was so beautiful and peaceful.

Mirror, mirror on the wall, you are the fairest of them all.

While some of the pieces in the store were quite dear, there were plenty of pretty little bargains.

I came home with a few of these mercury balls to help lighten up a few dark cabinets.

I will return to this lovely shop soon.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

A party fit for Marie Antoinette

I am turning 40~ let us celebrate with a Marie Antoinette themed party.

The table is dressed with a matelasse cloth covered in roses, candy, confetti and images of the queen. Crystal candlesticks are dripping with jewels. At each setting is a collection of antique silver and china topped with a vintage handkerchief to be used as a napkin. In the center of the napkin is a ring fit for such regal guests.

A favor was placed to the left of each place setting and includes a string of pearls, candy, and confetti.

Bathroom tissue rolls have never looked so fine!

I have also made some blue and pink nut cups.

You can't have a party without cupcakes. I made the toppers from images of the queen printed on card stock. A toothpick was glued between two back to back circles.

Our ladies in waiting are The Fashionista and Hannah. They shall be serving a dinner of french onion soup, salad with french dressing, cordon bleu, green bean almondine and scalloped potatoes.

Although the invitation instructed that "Men, children and beasts are most unwelcome..." perhaps we can make an exception for my darling court jester, Rudi.

Touches of the queen can be found in every room in the house.

Even the ladies in waiting have a special table just for them in the kitchen.

Of course Marie Antoinette is playing on the big screen tv. The movie is muted though while music from various French artists is piped through the surround sound for total ambiance.

My daughter, a fashion design student has created my look. She says it is Modern Day Marie.

I've set up an area where each guest will have her portrait made.

I hope that you had a good time! Don't forget your parting favor.

It is a rose scented candle with an image of Marie Antoinette. The round fleur de lis tag reads "Merci" on the back.

The back of the candle includes the famous quote: "Let them eat cake!"

Au Revoir!

The Duchess of Decor

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

You are cordially invited...

Today I am 40.

I had written this post a few days ago before learning of my dad's passing.
A big celebration had been in the works by my children that I truly considered cancelling. My sister in law Melody, who lives here in town, said, "Laura, don't cancel. Norm LOVED a party and I REALLY need a drink." (Who can argue with that?)
As my husband is currently overseas and will not return for awhile, it is actually comforting to me that dear, dear friends will surround me this evening.
You are among the dearest. I have to say that I have been absolutely overwhelmed with the love and support shown to me by my friends in the blogging community. So please join in the celebration of another year of life. It is so very precious.

For this Marie Antoinette themed birthday the invitation features a favorite image of the queen painted by one of my favorite artists, Elisabeth Vigee LeBrun. It aptly states: "Let them eat cake."

The inside reads: The Duchess of Decor
summons you to court for an evening of enchantment and merrymaking

to mark the occasion of her ladyships 40th birthday.

Wednesday, the twentieth of August, two thousand and eight.
Dinner shall commence at half after six.

The royal procession shall then journey to The Shout! House where the ladies shall attempt to lose their heads.

Lace, pearls and other frippery are highly encouraged.

On the back of the card are directions to Chateau Gunn (which I would rather not disclose on the internet) and provides instruction that "Men, small children, beasts and those bearing gifts are most unwelcome. Those making their presence known shall be locked in the stocks."

So, select your gown and perhaps a pair of slippers.

Is red your color? This frock is quite fetching.

Perhaps a pink or aqua gown would suit you?

Don't you just adore these slippers from Fete et fleur?

I will leave tomorrow for California but I promise a visual feast for the eyes in the near future.

Monday, August 18, 2008

My dad

Today a great man passed away. His name was Norman C. Phillips. Not only was he a great man, he was a great dad.

He was also a very brave man.
Thirty two years ago he married my mother, Nadine. Did I mention that she had six children? He also had two sons, so that meant eight kids total. That is what I call love.

He loved big band music and was a fantastic dancer. Here he is cutting a rug with my sister in law Lisa at my wedding.

My dad was one of the original grill masters. No one will ever surpass his peppered turkey. He loved to eat and after I left home and would come to visit we often went out to lunch together while mom was at work. He was supposed to be on a diet, but I let him order things that he shouldn't have and it was our little secret.
If he was outside, it was rare event to see him without a ball cap on. Being a former Army/ A.C. man he absolutely loved the military themed hats that my husband would send to him. He also proudly wore hats from the colleges his grandchildren attended and had quite the collection of various sport teams.

Ever the snappy dresser, when I brought home this apron from Germany he insisted on wearing it even though this was supposed to be a formal picture to celebrate my son's christening.

He was quiet, humble and easy to please. A true wizard with a tool box, he was always willing to lend a hand. He loved golf and would beat you at cribbage every time. He also had the best legs. I guess it was from all his years of running.

He will be missed and memories of him will be forever treasured.

Quiet Hero

My hero is the quiet type,
No marching bands, no media hype,
But through my eyes it's plain to see,
A hero, God has sent to me.
With gentle strength and quiet pride,
All self concern is set aside,
To reach out to our fellow man,
And be there with a helping hand.
Heroes are a rarity,
A blessing to humanity.
With all they give and all they do,
I'll bet the thing you never knew,
My quiet hero has always been you.

Author Unknown

I will be taking a bit of a blogging break as I need to travel to California to be with my family. Prayers for a safe journey would be greatly appreciated. My mom has been hit extra hard as she is also suffering the loss of her sister, my Aunt Corky (Corliss Ann), yesterday to emphysema. Special thoughts would mean so much.

La Belle Chocolatière

In my last post I showed you the eating area of my kitchen and mentioned that I would talk about the picture that is in the background.

Here is a closeup of the picture and the story to go with it. While living in Germany I regularly attended the indoor flea market held in our little village of Meisenbach. One Saturday, a gentleman was outside and had the doors of his van flung open and propped up against the door was this picture. She caught my eye and I asked "How much?" He replied, "5 euro." (Which at the time was about $4.50.) I smiled and said "I am going to go look inside now and I might come back later." Even as I type this some of you are cringing and saying "How come you didn't buy her right then?" I try very hard not to be an impulse shopper. I like to mull things around a bit. I believe that if I am meant to have something, it will still be there when I go back.
I was inside for about an hour or so and I kept thinking about her. So much so that I couldn't really enjoy anything else I was seeing. So I went back out and she was no longer propped up against the door. I felt my heart fall but the gentleman spotted me and said, "Love was in your eyes, and I saved her for you." So I took her home and much to my surprise Mr. Decor loved her as well. So she went on a dining room wall and then moved with us to Georgia a few years later. Soon after I received my copy of Country Living Magazine. In their monthly "What is it? What is it worth?" column I saw my girl. I found out a bit of history about her and learned that she was a form of advertisement from the late 1800's~early 1900's and was worth a BIT more than the $4.50 I paid for her. :)

A year or so later I went to visit my Grandma. (Yes, the same Grandma mentioned in this post.) Inside her china hutch I spied this small antique cookbook from the Walter Baker & Co. (Early Baker's chocolates) . I told her the story and my sweet grandmother said, "Well then, you MUST have this book." It now sits in my china cabinet.

The original picture was painted by Jean-Étienne Liotard, a Swiss~French painter, around 1743-1745. It is a pastel on parchment. She now hangs in Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister (Old Masters Picture Gallery) in Dresden, Germany. In 1862 the Baker's Chocolate Company obtained the right to use the image and around 1900 Droste cocoa also began using the image.

Here is my favorite part of the story, a sweet love story, which can be found here.

Very often it is claimed that the person painted was the young Anna Baltauf, daughter of a impoverished knight, Melchior Baltauf, who had possibly been recruited to court as a ladies maiden. It is said that the young prince von Dietrichstein spied on her beauty there, fell in love and married her to the dismay of the nobility.

The Walter Baker Company describes the story in it's little recipe-booklet of 1913 as follows:

"...There is a romance connected with the charming Viennese girl who served as the model, which is well worth telling. One of the leading journals of Vienna has thrown some light an the Baltauf, or Baldauf, family to which the subject of Liotard's painting belonged. Anna, or Annerl, as she was called by friends and relatives, was the daughter of Melchior Baltauf, a knight, who was living in Vienna in 1760, when Liotard was in that city making portraits of some members of the Austrian Court. It is not clear whether Anna was earning her living as a chocolate bearer at that time or whether she posed as a society belle in that becoming costume; but, be that as it may, her beauty won the love of a prince of the Empire, whose name, Dietrichstein, is known now only because he married the charming girl who was immortalized by a great artist. The marriage caused a great deal of talk in Austrian society at the time, and many different stories have been told about it. The prejudices of caste have always been very strong in Vienna, and a daughter of a knight, even if well-to-do, was not considered a suitable match for a member of the court. It is said that an the wedding day Anna invited the chocolate bearers with whom she had worked or played, and in "sportive joy at her own elevation" offered her hand to them saying, " Behold! now that I am a princess you may kiss my hand."She was probably about twenty years of age when the portrait was painted in 1760, and she lived until 1825..."


A big thank you to Shimmy Mom who has bestowed the "You Are Such A Joy to Me" award upon Decor to Adore. Thank you for the honor. She likes my historical posts so "Chocolate Girl" is dedicated to Sweet Shimmy.