Sunday, May 31, 2009
Saturday, May 30, 2009
I have mentioned before that I am obsessed with lanterns these days. Not just any lanterns, of course – that would be too easy and cheap – but antique French lanterns like this:
This beauty came from Chateau Domingue, the wonderful architectural elements store in Houston. But, even though I love the antique lanterns, they can be very pricey. So imagine my delight last summer when I happened into one of my favorite shops, M. Naeve, and found not one, but two identical lanterns – albeit reproductions – at a very decent price. Sold! I knew exactly where they would go – my family room and the stair landing. But, it was going to be a long, hard road to get them hung and I knew exactly why my beautiful new lanterns were going to become a major issue in the Webb household. This is one of the issues:
Issue I: The ceiling fan that has been hanging in my family room for 15 years.
Issue II: Ol’ Mr. Slipper Socks Man himself.
Now understand, I hate to brag, but my house is my domain. I, and I alone, am in charge of each decorating decision. And by large, that’s a true statement. Except for a few issues – one of which is ceiling fans. Mr. Slipper Socks Man has to have “air moving around” to be happy – even in the winter. And it’s not just because Houston isn’t scalding hot (which it is) but maybe, just maybe, if he would let me move the thermostat down from 78 degrees he might not need his “air moving around” 24/7 – but that’s what he claims he needs to be happy. And I’ve humored him and let him ruin my bedroom and my family room with his ceiling fans. But these two gorgeous lanterns were just too much to pass up – and frankly, I’m tired of humoring him. I hate ceiling fans and I’m done with them. But to get them hung I knew it was going to take a lot of skillful psychological maneuvering. I was up to the challenge.
OK, it took longer than I thought. The two lanterns sat in the garage for a year, waiting for him to change his mind about his insistence on a ceiling fan in the family room. After waiting in vain for a year, I finally had to take the matter into my own hands. The lanterns needed light kits installed, so a few weeks ago, I dragged them out of the garage to Alcon on Alabama who miraculously electrified them both in less than a week. When the lanterns were finished I brought them home and placed them on the floor by the front door - a BIG hint. The lanterns sitting by the front door seemed to say: “Hey, Mr. Slipper Socks Man – we aren’t going away. We’re here to stay, get used to it, bud.” So, they sat there for a week, and we never once discussed them. But he knew, he knew exactly what I had on my mind. And bless him, he is so sweet – and I guess that’s why I humor him because, he is the sweetest man in the world. He finally comes up to me one day, out of the blue, and we have this conversation:
“You can go ahead and put up the lanterns, I’ll just get a space fan.”
“Really? You don’t mind? Because I thought I could always just put one on the landing and the other one in the guest room.”
“No, go ahead, it’s O.K.”
See? I told you how sweet he is. Had I only known then what plans he had in his mind.
Sam and Randy Bennett, the best electricians in Houston, bar none, (these guys can install a sconce anywhere and not leave a mark) came out and installed the two lanterns the next day. One went on the landing, the other in the family room. To tell you the truth, I am in love. Do you blame me? Look:
Like I said, I hate to brag, but does a light fixture get any prettier than this? I’m in love, seriously in love. Yes, I know it’s not an antique, and yes, I know an antique would look better, but hey – it’s good enough for me. In fact, I couldn’t be any happier.
Full on view – wow! To me, this lantern is worth more than a 10 carat diamond and a closet full of designer clothes.
The landing with the second lantern. Love it, but I’m not as “in love” with this as the one in the family room. This is like comparing your Chanel purse with your Cole Haan purse – you like them both – you just like one a little better. Not that I would know, I don’t own a Chanel purse, but I’m assuming I would feel that way.
Another view – hard to get a good shot.
So, Mr. Slipper Socks Man had a migraine the day these were installed and left for work late. On his way out, I told him I would get a space fan for him. Fine, just get a good one, he warns me. You know it!
I thought this was a good fan. It’s small, but really powerful. Quiet too. And kind of cute, in a old fashioned way. Easy to remove before company comes over, a good compromise. Mr. Slipper Socks Man comes home and admits (he hated to do this, I know) that he loved the lanterns. He actually used that word “love” which is a rarity he reserves for his daughter always, and me sometimes. The fan though, really, really bothered him. A lot. He moved it around a few times. He asked me “have you lost your mind?” – it was:
1. Too small.
2. Not powerful enough.
3. Too loud (it wasn’t!)
4. A total disappointment.
5. It was a big mistake to “let” me take down the ceiling fan and put the lantern up.
He was so miserable he went upstairs to the bedroom to watch TV before the 10:00 news. Another rarity. The next night, he stayed downstairs until only 8:00. I knew he was silently fuming over the loss of his ceiling fan only to be replaced by my kind-of cute retro fan. I figured time would take care of it. I was wrong. The third night he came home with a huge package from Brookstone. I have no idea what a Brookstone is, but I can only imagine how much I loathe that store.
It’s not funny. Not funny at all. I”m not laughing. I am the one fuming now. I mean, really, is HE serious? OMG, just looking at this picture makes me want to cry. And I’m serious about that. I am at a loss of how to handle this. He, though, is in heaven. He proudly points out all the features to me: a remote control!!! It oscillates!!! It’s really quiet!!! (It’s not.) He neglects to mention it’s most obvious adjective: It’s Ugly!!!!
You see it there, on the right by the TV on steriods, another one of his dreckorating ideas. I need a valium. Look how TALL that thing is!!!!!! OH and I almost forgot, he also bought a mini version of this for Elisabeth’s room!!! I might kill him tonight.
Oh wait, there’s more. Mr. Slipper Socks Man is really dreckorating tonight. He moved the rattan child’s size chair in front of the fan to hide it. OOOHHHHHH – yes!!!! That REALLY hides it!!! I can’t see that humongous, ugly, black thermometer at all now. Whew! Problem solved, Mr. Slipper Socks Man to the rescue. Another job well done. Ok, I’m going to go cry now. This is just not getting any better.
Which bring me to this: The Skirted Roundtable is discussing this very issue this week – “Designing for the Sexes” – and no, it wasn’t planned at all. I had no idea I was going to be embroiled in my own “Designing For The Sexes” fiasco. We also discuss - in the Blogging Segment – how to grow your audience. Be sure to listen this week!!! AND as an added bonus this week – we have a new feature: “Saturday Short” – a sort of bloopers from the Skirted Roundtable, things that made the cutting room floor. I haven’t even heard it yet – but judging from the picture of the “recliner” I have a good idea what it’s about!!!!! Very funny!!!
Click HERE to hear!
Ben just read this – he has one request. That I show him looking like a “human being.” Here he is on his company’s web site:
Aw, he’s soooo cute!!!! And he’s cool too!
Friday, May 29, 2009
Thursday, May 28, 2009
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
Hello and welcome to the Tablescape Thursday blog party. If you are a Cote de Texas reader who is not familiar with blog parties – this is how it works. One blogger will host a party around a very specific theme which other bloggers will then write about. For instance, each week, the popular blog Between Naps On My Porch, hosts a blog party on Thursday centered about beautiful tablescapes. If this is your first blog party – take the time to visit blogs listed here who are each hosting their own Tablescape Thursday – you will be sure to get a host of new ideas for entertaining, either your own family or dinner party guests. By the way, if you are wondering where the blog name Between Naps On My Porch came from – just take a look here! This surely is what all porches should be – comfortable, cozy, and beautiful.
Are you ready for a Cote de Texas Tablescape Thursday Party? Enjoy!
Since it’s not quite scalding summer hot in Houston yet, I thought I would set up the table for lunch here on the courtyard, where I usually blog away at my iron table and chairs from Wisteria.
Everything is so green now, the flowers are at their peak – in a few weeks they will start to get that parched summery look, but for now, May is proving to be the prettiest month on my courtyard. Even more miraculous is the fountain is clean and clear for a change. Once it rains a time or two, the water can turn a little murky. But today it’s crystal clear, so eating by the fountain will be particularly nice and atmospheric.
The pink, fuchsia, and white impatiens were planted over a month ago and they are really filling out.
My favorites though are the caladiums. One summer I had all giant white and green caladiums and each year they get pinker and greener it seems. In another month, the beds will be a riot of tall, thick caladiums – I can’t wait!!!!
One of my favorite spots in my courtyard is this bench with two antique urns on pedestals. The entire vignette is actually my sister Cathy’s, but when she moved to a high rise, I inherited the lot. She is back on terra firma now, but it’s hard to return this to her, although one day, I’m sure it will be back with its rightful owner. A few minutes after I took this picture, the skies opened up and it started pouring. Think about that monsoon scene in the movie “The Year of Living Dangerously” – that’s exactly how it is in Houston. One minute the sun is hot and it’s a beautiful day, the next minute, its raining bucketfuls – not just a little shower, but a hard driving downpour that can deposit inches of water in a short amount of time. Needless to say, I need to change the lunch plans, and quickly.
So, instead of eating on the courtyard, I set up the Tablescape Thursday blog party on the covered porch. Can you see the table hiding behind the plants?
I used an old bamboo folding table between the two white wicker chairs. The blue and white garden stool is from Wisteria, now discontinued which is such a shame!
For the tablecloth – I repurposed a Dash and Albert rug from Olivine, in Uptown, and layered over it, a classic linen placemat edged in blue scalloping.
Lunch will be gazpacho, a chilled soup, so I decided to use two small tureens - from my collection of antique Mason Ware - instead of traditional bowls. Since each piece of Mason Ware is hand-picked, I don’t have a pair, but instead, chose two that blend together. Pink roses fill a silver vase and everything else is made of glass, including the tall dessert stand, used to bring some height to the tablescape.
This Mason Ware tureen in the Japan pattern, is mostly cobalt blue and white with orange flower accents.
And this tureen is green and white with accents of cobalt blue and orange. This piece still has it’s bottom plate, which is really special.
Besides the cold soup, we’re going to be having salad – which will be served on the blue and white transferware plates that I collect. I have just two pieces in this pattern, one of my favorites. It’s such a romantic scene, with urns and a balustrade and columns. Underneath the transferware is a white china plate with a scalloped edge.
Getting hungry…..where’s the food??????? Nobody told me I had to actually cook to participate in the Tablescape Thursday party!!!! And where’s my guest?? Anyone? Maybe my springer Georgie would join me, but she is so scared of the camera.
Everything looked so pretty and elegant on the porch for a change, that I kept it like this all afternoon, just flitting about and admiring it – yes, I am that weird. I had actually forgotten about the “party” set-up all together until Ben came home from work, walked outside and saw me sitting there with my computer on my lap, blogging away – with half our dishes outside. He said - with one eye half cocked – “what is going on? Why is this table all set up?” “Oh, it’s nothing, don’t worry about it. It’s for the blog” I dismissively tell him quickly. Except he was not about to be dismissed so quickly. “You know you are a very, very strange person, you DO know that, don’t you?” Not really. I don’t think there is anything even remotely strange at all about setting up a table for an imaginary party and splashing pictures of it all over the internet, do you??????
To see other Tablescape Thursday parties, go here and scroll down to the end of the post to reach the entire list of participants!