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Monday, February 28, 2011

Makeover Monday ~ Vintage Clothing

My good friend Jenny is the proprietress of Redhead Sadie. Jenny has been honing her eye for fabulous vintage fashions for many years. She decided to share some of her collection with the world and had a fabulous trunk show this past Saturday.

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There were yummy, fluffy crinolines that I just wanted to run and jump into.

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Pretty purses that would make Peggy perfectly happy.

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Tons of gorgeous gems in sweet candy colored shades.

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Jenny outfitted me for the day, Royal Wedding style.

Mr. Décor’s favorite part? The Cuban heeled stockings of course.

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The hat and gloves were my own.

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Do you have a horrific bridesmaid gown that could possibly win the title of “Perfectly Putrid or Perfect Princess ”?

How about a Queen’s collection of rhinestones or piles of pearls for “Best British Baubles”? 

Could you be the hands down winner in the “Hats Off” category?

Here’s your chance to play along.

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I’ll reveal the second esteemed expert for Wedding Wear this Wednesday, as well as the winners of the High Tea Tablescape for the categories “Fit For A Queen” and “Royally Scrumptious”.

“Don’t just stand there, let’s get to it. Strike a pose, there’s nothing to it. Vogue.”

Laura

Friday, February 25, 2011

Fabulous Friday~ High Tea Recipes and More

Have you had a chance to see all of the beautiful High Tea tablescapes from Wednesday’s linky party? I am still slowly working my way through all of the lovely entries.

For those who needed to know, the orange marmalade cake recipe comes from one of my favorite series of books (I adore Mitford!) by Jan Karon. Here is Esther’s Orange Marmalade Cake.

The lemon curd and scones are oldies but goodies. For the lemon curd go here. For the scones go here (I just substitute blueberries for cranberries).

Also on the well loved list, the lemon tea bread. You can put in any berry you like.

To see some really beautiful French tablescapes, please visit the Metis Linens blog I share with Andrea. It is once again time for Fabulous French Friday
 
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You have until Saturday at midnight to link up for a chance to win one of two fabulous prizes featured on Wednesday’s post.

This weekend will have me perusing all the entries and enjoying a glorious visit with a wonderful houseguest, so I have turned the comments off.
Laura

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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Royal Wedding Wednesdays~ High Tea Tablescapes

Welcome to the High Tea Tablescapes Linky Party!!!
 
As a rule the Queen takes her tea in her private quarters between 4 ~ 5 every afternoon.  It is believed that the tradition of taking tea was begun in the 17th century by the French. Prior to the introduction of tea into Britain, the English only had two meals~ breakfast and dinner. Sometime during the middle of the eighteenth century, dinner for the upper and middle classes was changed from noontime to an evening meal that was served at a fashionably late hour.
The Royal Family taking tea at the Royal Lodge, 1950.
According to legend, it was one of Queen Victoria's ladies-in-waiting, Anna Maria Stanhope, also known as the Duchess of Bedford, who is credited as the creator of afternoon tea. As the noon meal had become skimpier, the Duchess suffered from "a sinking feeling" at about four o'clock in the afternoon. The Duchess had her servants sneak her a pot of tea and a few breadstuffs. Soon she adopted the European tea service format, and invited friends to join her for an additional afternoon meal at five o'clock in her rooms at Belvoir Castle. The menu featured small cakes, bread and butter sandwiches, assorted sweets, and tea. This summer practice proved so popular, the Duchess continued it when she returned to London, sending cards to her friends asking them to join her for "tea and a walking the fields." The practice of inviting friends to come for tea in the afternoon was quickly picked up by other social hostesses.


There are various levels of tea such as Cream Tea~ which includes tea, scones, jam and cream, Light Tea - tea, scones and sweets and Full Tea, also known as High Tea, - tea, savories (tiny sandwiches and appetizers), scones, sweets and desserts.

Queen Elizabeth visiting children in hospital, London, 13 October 1938.
Because teatime is a rather private affair for the Royal family we must use our imaginations as to what their table might look like. Here is my own ever so humble presentation. We had tremendous rain over the weekend so some of the photos, I am afraid, are a bit dark.
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I began with a pale pink damask cloth topped with an antique piece of linen featuring hand embroidered roses and vines in a cheerful pink and green palette.

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A bird’s eye view of the table.
 
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Here is a close up of the floral centerpiece. I decided to go for a rather modern look to help cut the overall sweetness of the table. The stems of the roses are cut short and nestled tightly within a low glass vase and matching votive holders.
 
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I mixed both silver and gold finishes.
 
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Do you take cream or sugar in your tea?
 
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A close up of the tiny tea plate holding savories such as a cucumber sandwich, a crab puff and a delectable sweet~ chocolate mousse.
 
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If you need seconds, please help yourself.
 
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Other savories include mini traditional meat pies, also known as the Cornish Pasty.
 
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Sweet sweets such as the pink tipped chocolates.
 
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Over on the sideboard additional bounty awaits.
 
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The star of the show is the orange marmalade cake.
 
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The lemon raspberry tea cake is also delightfully yummy.
 
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Care for a blueberry scone?
 
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You can top it with lemon curd, a bit of cream and some additional berries.
 
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Make sure to try the English toffee bon bons.
 
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I do hope you have enjoyed my High Tea Tablescape.
 
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Both of the esteemed experts, Susan, from Between Naps On The Porch and Yvonne, from Stonegable, as well as myself, are eager to view all of the, sure to be lovely, tablescapes. The linky is open until midnight on Saturday so that enough time can be given to select and announce the winners of the following prizes by next Wednesday.

“Fit For A Queen”

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“Royally Scrumptious”

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I hope you enjoy the party and please take this opportunity to visit the wonderful blogs participating.

May your own home be your castle,

Laura

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

A Special Tuesday Post~ Catherine’s Coach

My dear cousin in love is just like me when it comes to all things Royal~ we are certifiably over the moon for all the pomp, circumstance, and romance. She herself claims that she is Royal Peculiar. Indeed we have spent more than an hour just discussing the commemorative wedding china alone. This is our favorite by the way…

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Week after week she views the Royal Wedding Wednesday posts and leaves hilarious comments. She also weighs in on what I should research and write about. She does not have a blog but instead spends most of her time sedating people who are having surgery. (Yes, legally.) But she couldn’t let the High Tea Tablescape go by without her input. Since the result was so superior I am happy to have my first ever guest post on the Décor To Adore blog.

Without further adieu I bring you Catherine’s Coach Tablescape by HRH the Royal Peaculiar.

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The inspiration for my table scape came from the “Official” Royal Wedding China pattern.  I wanted to depict a lovely spot of tea with some cake.  Having just made the Wilton “Soccer Ball” cake using the generic “Sports Ball” pan for my daughter, I thought the pan would also lend itself to being transformed into a royal coach.  I used a gray background for the entwined initials, since the china pattern uses gray heavily.  I did not want Catherine’s initial to be gray, though, as seen on the china, but white—because I see her as a sparkling, clean slate (note the rhinestone additions to the initials). 

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William’s initial is gold, as in the china pattern & I encircled both initials in this royal color, accented with edible sugar pearls.  The gray background is somewhat swirly and messy, to signify the somewhat swirly and messy past of the monarchy (and also because I think a piece of fondant might have worked better here, but go with me on this, OK?!?  Catherine and William’s initials stand brightly against this background as not only a clean slate, but to also signify a fresh, vibrant start for the monarchy.  I decorated the top of the cake with a crown-shaped candle holder (from Michael’s) and various cream-colored roses and pink dogwood blossoms.

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My favorite part of the cake are the wheels.  They are Pepperidge Farm “Brussels” cookies, iced and embellished with a large sapphire and rhinestone accents to mimic THE infamous ring & also give a nod to our forever Queen of Hearts.

The table itself is covered with a hand-tatted tablecloth, made by my husband’s grandmother.  I love this, as I cannot imagine how many hours she spent on it for us.

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The teapot, sugar and creamer are James Sadler of England.  The Sadler company started in 1882 and were known for fine earthenware teapots.  The first were made from red clay with a dark brown glaze and were called “The Rockingham Brown” or “Brown Betty” teapot.  These pots are still in production today.  The chintz pattern here is called “Sophie” after James Sadler’s sister and dates from the early 1900’s. 

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The pale blue teacups and saucers are treasures from Laduree in Paris, made by Artoria Limoges specifically for the company.  I love the delicate floral swags on these! 

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Also, the Laduree wedding cake topper makes an appearance as a sweet symbol of romance.  I thought these two characters holding the heart look like they should be IN the carriage!!

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I then chose coordinating napkins, tied them with gauzy pale blue ribbon, and tucked in some of the flowers that top the cake.  A couple of sparkly butterflies flit about strewn silk rose petals.

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I really had SO MUCH FUN doing this table scape.  It’s the first one I’ve EVER done for such public display.  My husband would like photo credits & I’d like my mom, NeNe, to have a credit as creative consultant (although she says she just “stood around”).

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Hope you like it. Tell me what you think of my very first blog post!!!!

HRH the Royal Peaculiar

Note from Laura: WOW right? The girl has mad skills. Because of her familial relationship with the prize sponsor (that would be me) she is ineligible to win one of the following two prizes to be awarded to two participants of the High Tea Tablescape linky party which begins tomorrow :

“Fit For A Queen”

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Includes one vintage organdy hostess apron, 6 vintage cream damask napkins, 1 piece of antique linen edged in tatting, 1 doily, 2 antique linen cup coasters, vintage hanky, 2 antique silver spoons, 2 china mugs, Jacobs cream crackers, Cadbury chocolate, shortbread, lemon curd marmalade, and Typoo tea.

“Absolutely Scrumptious”

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Includes one vintage organdy hostess apron, 6 vintage pink damask napkins, 1 piece of antique linen edged in tatting, 1 doily, 2 antique linen cup coasters, vintage hanky, 2 antique silver spoons, 2 china mugs, Jacobs cream crackers, Cadbury chocolate, shortbread, marmalade and London tea.

But don’ t worry Royal Peaculiar, I am hooking you up with a special prize all your own for creating such a royally scrumptious tablescape that is truly fit for a Queen.

May your own home be your castle,

Laura, the Duchess of Décor

Just a reminder that it is not to late to head over to Metis Linens and leave a comment for the current giveaway over there. 

Monday, February 21, 2011

Makeover Monday~ Fish, chips and pints…

For those of you who have been blessed to meet Mr. Décor in person then you know he has a fantastic sense of humor and loves practical jokes. One thing that is no joke is his love for the old country~ he wears the tartan of Clan Gunn proudly.

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As with most men of tablescaping wives, Mr. Décor generally says very little when he comes home to cupboards torn apart when I am making an effort to create an elaborate tablescape. He happily eats all of the leftover “staging” bits. But this last weekend he became inspired as he saw me preparing the table with things such as:

My great grandmother Emma’s biscuit jar. (She received this from my great grandfather on the occasion of their first Christmas together. It is over 100 years old.)

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Carefully polished silver and embroidered linens.

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Teacups at the ready.

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Large plates.

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Small plates.

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Tiny covered tureens with additional silver spoons.

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He couldn’t stand it anymore and asked if he could commandeer the kitchen table. Having lived in England for over four years in his mid 20’s Mr. Décor said that he was an expert on what the U.K. actually enjoys during the high tea hour between 4 ~ 5 pm each day. He would like to point out that the inspiration for his High Tea Tablescape comes from this image of the Queen mum herself.

So while my own tablescape will be available for the Royal Wedding Wednesday High Tea Tablescape linky party I thought I would share with you Mr. Décor’s take on the High Tea Tablescape. 

Begin with a few of your favorite bar towels garnered from various pubs. This is a man’s tea time tablecloth. Your sleeve will serve as your napkin.

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Create an impressive centerpiece of Colman’s mustard, HP Sauce, S & P and malt vinegar.

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Fry up some thick chunks of potato wedges then reuse the same old oil to cook a few hunks of cod. Use salt liberally since your wife is not in the room.

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Pour yourself a tall, cold imperial pint of lager.

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Invite a few of your mates and have a grand time.

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Mr. Décor insisted that our esteemed experts, the lovely Susan of Between Naps On The Porch and the gorgeous Yvonne of Stonegable, should include him in the judging to win the following High Tea Tablescape prizes. (I however informed him he is disqualified given his close relationship with prize sponsor.)

But all others are eligible to win the the title of:

“Fit For A Queen”

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Includes one vintage organdy hostess apron, 6 vintage cream damask napkins, 1 piece of antique linen edged in tatting, 1 doily, 2 antique linen cup coasters, vintage hanky, 2 antique silver spoons, 2 china mugs, Jacobs cream crackers, Cadbury chocolate, shortbread, lemon curd marmalade, and Typoo tea.

“Absolutely Scrumptious”

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Includes one vintage organdy hostess apron, 6 vintage pink damask napkins, 1 piece of antique linen edged in tatting, 1 doily, 2 antique linen cup coasters, vintage hanky, 2 antique silver spoons, 2 china mugs, Jacobs cream crackers, Cadbury chocolate, shortbread, marmalade and London tea.

I hope you have enjoyed Mr. Décor’s High Tea tablescape and have been inspired to create your own. The linky party will be up at the stroke of midnight Wednesday. As with all linky parties, this is a grand chance to introduce yourself to some fabulous other blogs. I do hope you will take the time to visit at least 3 other entries.

May your own home be your castle,

Laura, the Duchess of Decor