Thursday, September 30, 2010

The Grand Giveaway Part Deux

Now that the secret has been revealed in the previous post let’s celebrate this fantastic French venture, Métis Linens, with a glorious giveaway.
How would you like a bit of fall to arrive via a beautiful basket on your doorstep? Let’s make it even more fabulous by filling it with classic French favorites.

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We begin with a French osier (reed) basket. My partner, Andrea, profiled these beauties in a recent post here.  I can’t say enough wonderful things about this basket. I purchased a few osier baskets while living in Europe almost a decade ago. Even with heavy use my reed baskets are in impeccable condition. They are a rare find here in the United States.

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Next, comes a lovely and heavy vintage cotton sheet. It is adorned with the most breathtaking monogram. I have written before how you can make almost any monogram your own. It just takes a bit of tongue in cheek creativity. For instance, this monogram, WRM could stand for Wildly Romantic Marriage. My dachshund thinks that it should stand for Rudi Weiner Majesty. You can have loads of fun coming up with your own titles.

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Of course France is famous for its lavender. Métis Linens has found a brilliant source for organic dried lavender. It is so wonderfully fragrant.
A heavily embroidered piece of linen that I found years ago in Strasbourg needed a bit of love. Lavender sachets were a perfect choice. One sachet will arrive in your basket.

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You’ll also receive some organic bath salts featuring French white kaolin clay, Mistral soap, a sweet copper mold, two lovely ceramic bowls and a vintage necklace that features French lovers in fall colors. This giveaway is open to everyone.

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There is a second giveaway for those who wish to blog about the Métis Linens giveaway. The winner will receive six lovely French vintage damask napkins. They have a wonderful feel and are generously sized.

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This gift will arrive tied with a vintage piece of rayon seam bidding and have an added touch of antique metalwork. Just leave a second comment with your blog post or side bar link that features the Métis Linens giveaway.

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Our third giveaway is a wonderful set of various French vintage hand towels, napkins and damask fabric that can be used in a variety of ways.

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To qualify for this giveaway please become a Nos Chers Amis (our dear friends) aka “follower” of the Métis Linens blog and then leave a comment here. This blog is still in its infancy and we are feverishly working to add many special touches to it. Andrea has already written a few wonderful posts for your enjoyment. 

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A quick recap~ there are a total of three giveaways.
1. The basket and its contents is open to everyone, just leave one comment.
2. The damask napkins are for those who wish to write a post or place a link on their sidebar announcing this giveaway. Leave a  second comment with the link to your blog.
3. The third giveaway is for those who become a Nos Chers Amis, aka “follower”, of the blog Métis Linens. Please come back and leave a comment here.

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All three winners will be selected on Thursday, October 7, 2010.
Bonne Chance!
Laura
UPDATE: Congratulations to Yvonne of Stonegable for winning the basket, Sherry of No Minimalist Here won the damask napkins and  Lavender Dreams won the assortment of vintage French linens. 
 I hope these lovely ladies will enjoy their bit of ooh la la!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

A Sweet Blessing and Clue 6

Tomorrow will mark the occasion in which a teeny baby arrived a bit too early into our lives. It is hard to image that we will celebrate his 9th birthday. I still picture him as a sweet boy sandwich. 

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He was christened at the church of St. Michael and All Angels in the village of Pirbright, (Surrey) England,  which is also where Mr. Decor’s Aunt Bette and Uncle David live.

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A church has stood on these same grounds for over 800 years. There are records dating back to a chapel built in 1210~1214 AD. The current church was built in the Georgian style in the late 18th century after a fire destroyed the previous church.

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Alongside the church is an accompanying cemetery. Its most famous occupant is Sir Henry Morton Stanley a Welsh journalist and explorer who most famously found Dr. Livingston. “Dr. Livingston, I presume?”

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Sweet boy was christened on December 9, 2001, which also happened to be his father’s birthday. Our boy was 2 months old and weighed in at just under 7 pounds. He wore his grandfather's christening gown.
 
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Relatives and friends came from far and wide.  Eric’s dear family hosted a luncheon afterwards that I still dream about. Here you can see the beautiful stained glass located behind the altar. Sweet Boy is held by our good friend Patrick and joined by his darling wife Nicola and their 2 children. Patrick is a wonderful chef who owns the famous Sweetings restaurant, a London institution.

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Here is the 6th and final clue in the Decor To Adore Grandest Giveaway ever.

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Come back on Friday to see what all the fuss is about.
Happy Birthday Sweet Boy,
Mom

Monday, September 27, 2010

Gratitude and Giveaway Clue 5

I recently shared that I am currently the keeper of a secret. It is a sweet something that has captured long spans of my attention for awhile now. One does pay a price when living within lovely thoughts and I have been remiss in extending heartfelt gratitude shown to me by some very beautiful people.

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Rebecca from The Ardent Sparrow hosted a giveaway back in July. (Yes, very remiss!) Rebecca’s blog is filled with lovely eye candy. The giveaway was sponsored by the truly talented Heather from Post Road Vintage. Does Heather’s name sound familiar? She is featured in the current issue of Sommerset Home. I adore her pretty plate hooks.

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I ending up selecting a beautiful blue mason jar soap pump. It found a home in Sweet Boy’s bathroom.

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I have also had my eye on the inspiring book “The Vintage Table” by Jacqueline de Montravel.

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The wonderful Lidy of French Garden House recently had a giveaway of a signed copy of this wonderful bit of hardcover happiness. Ms. de Montravel, editor of Romantic Homes magazine, filled the entire book with images such as this:

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Lidy also introduced me to the wonderful Cynthia Wadell. Ms. Wadell is a talented designer who created Heavenly Hostess, a website that specializes in the most beautiful and well made aprons I have ever seen. The apron came in the cutest packaging which featured this inspiring verse: “God has given each of us special abilities; be sure to use them to help each other, passing on to others God’s many kinds of blessings”. ~ 1 Peter 4:10 

hostess apronAdorable Andrea of French Basketeer sent me a lovely new bag and darling clutch from her new line as a birthday gift. A favorite new design is this beautiful basket with cherry red accents.

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Another dear friend, Deborah of The Fairfield House, richly blessed me with this lovely gift of organization and relaxation.

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I am blessed indeed and would like to pay it forward with a grand giveaway to be revealed on October 1st. Here is clue number 5.

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In lieu of a comment perhaps you could

instead visit these lovely ladies.

Rebecca, The Ardent Sparrow

Heather, Post Road Vintage

Lidy, French Garden House

Cynthia, Heavenly Hostess

Andrea, French Basketeer

Deborah, The Fairfield House

Laura

Friday, September 24, 2010

A Resume of Life ~ Giveaway Clue 4

Over the years I have held a number of paid and unpaid job positions. A strange variety of titles and responsibilities have molded and transformed me into the person I am today.

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In the early years of high school I was a nanny to three delightful Danish boys. Every summer morning found me pedaling my bicycle to a job I really enjoyed.

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I also endured a typical teenage rite of passage by working in the food service industry. My first such job had me wearing a Mary Poppins type of costume while scooping ice cream and scraping out quarter tips left in the bottom of melted pools of stickiness.

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Next, came dreams of grandeur as a retail sales clerk. This was a fashionably dangerous position that left me well dressed, but broke, most of the time.

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I then found a worth while position that truly made a difference. Never before or since have I worked so hard as when I entered into the field of stay at home mom. To make ends meet I also ran a licensed day care facility in my home. I get exhausted just thinking about it.

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My life continued to change with seemingly no rhyme or reason. Most of the positions I had obtained gave no deep thought as to how I had arrived at such a job. Soon came a five year stint as a medical insurance specialist. I was thankful to have the job, but my spirit quietly suffered. The only beauty appeared in the form of long lasting friendships which were bonded under bad conditions.

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Alas a prince did come and he whisked me away to a foreign island. It was there I became a student of the world and a homeschooling teacher to one. This was a tough but tender experience that now is a happy reflection in time.

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From there we continued on our European adventure and I once again fell into a profession~ as a tour planner/guide for the U.S.O. My world exploded in a stream of beauty and experiences that I had never knew existed. We lived in a charming village and my neighbor Jean, an interior designer, opened a door I had never dreamed about knocking on.

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Upon our return to the states I was happily again a stay at home mom who took courses in real estate staging and redesign as there was no university located nearby in which I could study interior design. I opened a staging and redesign business and saw it thrive in a short amount of time.

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Another move across the country had me close that business and reopen another. A chance for formal education presented itself. For the first time in my life I was making well planned decisions about my career. As I grew closer to graduating I saw a once blossoming design industry take a hard hit in an ever continuing recession. How could this be? To have struggled and fought for so long in trying to realize who I thought I should be, only to have those dreams dashed, is a humbling experience.

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So I prayed. I tried to make lists of what really mattered. Important things quickly rose to the top. Other, once important, aspirations fell swiftly to the bottom. Stopping for quiet reflection has brought about powerful knowledge. It often does when we stop to really listen to soulful whisperings.

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During such quiet moments I have found that all of my past professions, which I thought had nothing to do with one another, have created a tapestry of experience woven thoughtfully and lovingly by my Heaven Father. Each job has been a building block used to create the path upon which I currently stand. I am thankful to God for the possibility of a metamorphosis so beautiful that I cannot even fathom to see all that my future holds. 

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It is up to us to be open to experience a path set before us that we never knew we were capable of walking. No task is ever set before us that we cannot handle. This is a rich promise I know to be true. Beauty often emerges when we least expect it.

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I am embarking on a new path filled with beauty and opportunity. I am thankful for the journey unfolding in front of me. Soon I will be sharing with you the direction life is taking me.  

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Here is yet another clue, number 4, for the Grandest Giveaway in Decor To Adore history which will be revealed on October 1st.

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I currently feel a bit like a newly emerged butterfly flitting about between the responsibilities of home, family, school and career.  But I would love to hear if you have ever found yourself at an unexpected crossroad and discovered a blossoming like no other. 

Laura

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Ladies In Waiting + Giveaway Clue 3

I was looking at the Anthropologie website. This is always a dangerous way to spend time. But in my defense I am thinking ahead to Christmas. In the midst of searching for gifts I spied their Ladies In Waiting plates. I think they look like old fashioned paper plates with a bit of French flourished scribble.
Still, my heart is pounding faster. Sigh. 

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I will resist as I already have too many plates and at $24.00 a piece, (YES, each plate!) I have the willpower.
Now for clue #3 of the DTA grandest giveaway.

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In order for me to retain my willpower and not reveal the secret until October 1, the comments have been turned off.
Are you intrigued?
Laura

Monday, September 20, 2010

Bright Copper Kettles

I remember as a very tiny girl someone I adored had a lovely copper kettle that she would place upon the stove. How I looked forward to the sweet low whistle that signaled rich hot chocolate would soon be at hand.

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Thus began my love affair with copper. My adoration for any gleaming pot or pan has now reached a point where it could possibly boil over.

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Many would agree that gleaming copper in a kitchen is a beautiful sight to behold. But perhaps some of you are unaware of the benefits in using copper for cooking. Copper is an excellent conductor of heat. Now I was not exactly an “A” student in chemistry, but I do know that conduction is the transfer of thermal energy. It works best in metals such a gold, platinum and copper. For those that wish to know more, you can google Fourier’s Law, but this is a design blog so let’s get back to the pretty.
 
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Heat in a copper pan is transferred evenly throughout the base and up the sides of a pan. This results in food being cooked quickly, but thoroughly and moist foods remain moist.  

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Of course copper requires a bit more work in terms of cleaning. Stainless steel, cast iron and aluminum are often preferred as they clean up more easily. But these materials also have their down sides. Stainless steel does not conduct heat well. Cast iron is slow to heat and of course can rust. Aluminum can react with foods that are acidic, such a tomato sauce, by imparting a metallic taste. Egg whites beaten in a aluminum pan will often turn gray. This is why you will often find that good bakers use a copper bowl to beat their egg whites. Beating eggs in a copper bowl also eliminates the need to add cream of tartar as there is a sufficient amount of acid already in the copper. 

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Most of the mined copper comes from South America. It is a non renewable resource which is one of the reasons copper pots are so expensive. Copper is truly durable, and can be recycled over and over again. Most copper pots however are never melted down. For this reason old copper pots are still plentiful at antique shops and good pots are coveted by collectors. You might recognize these famous collectors of copper. 

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Ah, Julia Child. She is of course famous for her French cooking. The French are well known for their gastronomic excellence. It makes sense that French copper pots set the standard as to what a copper pan should be. Many of the copper pots produced in France come from a small village, Villedieu Les Poeles, which is just outside of Paris. Finished pieces are quite heavy (something to keep in mind if your upper body strength is waning) and handles are riveted on by hand so that the pot is well balanced.

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Pots can also be hand hammered. Great cooks say that the small indentations created by the hammer assist the air and heat to circulate through the pot. A benefit of a hand hammered pot is that any scratches on the pot will be practically invisible. Of course this hand work will also increase the price of a pot. Given that several areas in France have now banned hand hammering (it creates deafness in the workers) a hand hammered pot will soon become a rare objet d'art.

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When looking for a perfect pot search for a gauge (thickness) of 2.5 millimeters. A heavily gauged pot helps the heat to transfer more easily. Due to the fact that an unlined copper pot will often cause stomach upset due to oxides that are released when heated, a vast majority of pots are sold with a lining. Tin is the preferred choice. While tin on its own will melt if subjected to high temperatures it works well with the copper. Over time the tin lining may wear away. A pot can easily be retinned by an skilled metalsmith. Other linings available are nickel and stainless steel. Of course the most extravagant lining is silver. If you ever find a copper pan that has been lined with silver feel free to send it to me immediately. :)

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Another beautiful way to use copper in the kitchen is to place a gorgeous hood above the cooktop.

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Perhaps you might like a copper sink?

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Or even an entire ceiling covered in copper tin tiles.
 
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For the DIY enthusiasts you can build a copper pot hanger using simple copper tubing.
 
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While I thought I only liked copper in the kitchen, this bathtub would be oh so delightful to soak in.

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I also wouldn’t object to a home covered in a copper roof.

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Because of course it would eventually turn to a lovely shade of verdigris.

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As always, Mr. Decor is afraid my obsession may go a bit to far.

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 I am still traipsing around trying to see if they have finally opened the Copper Art Museum. It will be located in the copper mining town of Clarkdale, Arizona~ also known as the Copper State.
Laura