Saturday, May 29, 2010

Napkin rings: not just for fancy schmancy dinners

We use our napkin rings every day at our house. Lots of people feel that napkin rings are only for setting the table for a festive dinner, but their real purpose is to tell you which napkin belongs to whom. Because if you use cloth napkins, you usually use them for a few days – or at least a few meals – and no way you want to use someone else's napkin! {Somehow I can't imagine using paper napkins anymore, except for the occasional picnic or snack on the road.} Cloth napkins are so nice, and so easy to care for. I have piles of them in cotton and linen. Both wash up beautifully and just get softer and nicer with age (just like me).

We just got in a shipment of my favorite pewter napkin rings, and it may be the last of them. We bought up what we could from a company that, sadly, is going out of business. We got a good deal, so we're passing it on. They're all 50% off this weekend at Pomegranate, along with some other wonderful pewter pieces, from candlesticks to vases (great gifts, by the way).

Here's a fun dinner party trick. It only involves some serious collecting first, and some oversized glasses of wine with dinner. I love to find antique napkin rings with engraved names. Since many of these date back to the early 20th century or before, some have sweet, old-fashioned names on them. Give each person a new identity with their napkin ring alter ego, and have them make up stories as Mabel, Herbert or Bessie. At our house, Robert is also known as Three-fingered Louie. His antique silver napkin ring is engraved with "Louie:" that, combined with the accident he had awhile back in his woodshop, gives us the nickname. Pretty good for an aspiring blues musician...

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Peony Love

Like all of us in Bend, I've been searching for signs of spring. Yes, the crabapples are in bloom and the lilacs are starting to peek out, and that's 100% better than the brown dirt cowboy sticks we were looking at last month. But the one thing I really love, the thing I wait for and that stops me in my tracks at the market (because we don't really grow them all that well in our own gardens) is peony season. So there I was, with a strict cash budget at the store, and these bundles of gorgeous peonies were calling out to me: pick me! no pick me! What is it about them? The layers and layers of delicate petals? The amazing colors, from palest whisper pink to watermelon red? The fact that they start out all round and tight, then go to this sort of lettucy, blowsy wild pouf? I don't know, but I love 'em. The season is short, friends, so go out and get some today. I found these at Newport Market, and I bet the florists have them, too. Have you seen them other places? You don't need a fancy arrangement; they work their own magic without filler or anything else. Just give them a good sharp cut under cool water, and plop them in a vase. For these, I like a vessel with a bit of a flared side to it, since they need room for their heads to open up. Happy happy happy.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Design book junkie

There's nothing like a great new design book (or magazine) to get my creative juices rolling. I have stacks of design-related books at home... but you can never have too many. My idea of a little mini-vacation? Curled up on the sofa with my cup of tea, a couple of good shelter mags or books, good music playing, and the light moving its way across the windows in the afternoon. Ahhh. Just got some great new books in at Pomegranate, and although some of the subjects have been done to death (French Country – do we need any more? yes, when they're this inspiring), they all have a very fresh take on the look, and I have to say, they are some of my all-time favorites. We didn't order too many, but will gladly reorder if they're gone by the time you visit.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Birds, butterflies... and fish

Just got some great new pieces in: lots of our favorite bird and butterfly themes, from wonderful wood trays (and small glass ones) to journals, candles, vases. Oh yeah, and a new shipment of goldfish glasses and bowls. Stop by Pomegranate this weekend to get more of this good spring mood!