29 January 2011

Bare Wood Tabletop, Egypt & Caramel Mandarins

According to cutting edge west coast event designers, a bare wood tabletop adorned with a simple runner is trending large now. Beautiful wood should be used and enjoyed, not always swathed beneath acres of fabrics never to see the light of day! Picture the long Italian countryside harvest table with just a simple linen runner and some olive branches and candles. Simple!

Sunday night we had lovely friends over for dinner and a HD show of photos from their very recent trip to Egypt*. Yes, we love these friends that much! So... I decided to forgo the tablecloth, run a Japanese obi fabric down the middle of the table and go... bare! It was kind of exhilirating! Heck, I didn't even use placemats, but instead bravely placed plates, silverware & glassware all directly on top of honest, pure wood.

*Egypt: in the six days since our happy dinner, things have changed drastically in Egypt with a catastrophic revolt along the Nile against the standing president Mubaric. May the taking to the streets ultimately create a better life for the citizens of Egypt. Our hearts go out to those caught innocently in this strife and we pray for a quick and safe resolution for Egypt and for the world who waits with our breath held until this trouble ends.

the mosques of Cairo against velvety blue black night sky;
photographer unnamed

the pyramid shapes on our table are meant to remind us of the
Valley of the Kings and the flowers of the reeds along the Nile

I like not dealing with the yards of fabric this
table needs to cover it... just simple runner and bare wood

keeping things simple for a Sunday night
gathering with friends

closer view of the table center

love the colors in this vintage obi
silk runner


polychrome Egyptian drawings and heiroglyphics
source unknown

King Tutankhamun... 19 artifacts from his tomb are
being returned to Egypt by New York
Metropolitan Museum of Art in an generous and
ethical gesture

this old label from the early 20th C. is very
appealing to me with its romantic seafaring images

I love this photograph of the Pyramid...I am unable
to determine the source of the photo, but it is stunning

all the elements I think of about Egypt: the Pyramid,
the Sphinx and the patient, humble camel in
the hot and dusty sand

old Egypt glyphs font from Font River


A perfectly simple and elegant dessert are these Mandarin Oranges in Caramel Sauce. The recipe is French, and to be perfectly honest, it's not really a caramel sauce, but a caramelization of the fruit juices and brown sugar... a reduction, really. But it is a charming and very effective ending to a spicy meal, one I could imagine being served in Egypt on a hot, sunny afternoon.

Caramel Mandarin Oranges

Préparation : 10 min - Cooking : 10 min + 10 min

Cost : easy & affordable

Pour 6 personnes

6 mandarines
100 g brown sugar
2 Tbs lemon juice
30 cl orange juice
1 stick of cinnamon
2 whole cloves
1 tsp ground cardamom

Préparation :

- In non-stick saucepan, make a clear caramel with the brown sugar by slowly heating over low flame. Do not add water. Take off the stove and add lemon and orange juices. Cover at once.

- When sizzling ends, mix well with a wooden spoon. Put the peeled mandarin oranges and the spices into the juices and simmer for 10 minutes. Turn mandarins over, and simmer additional 10 minutes.

Présentation in glasses :

- Drain the mandarins, set aside. Reduce the juice to a syrup, and pour over the fruits. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours. Place a mandarin orange in a glass and pour some syrup over each mandarin. Serve well chilled.


17 January 2011

Petites Choses Provençales!

Hello dear readers! How is your January going? I've been so busy working {which is trés bon, non?}, training le petit chiot Nicky, and putting the final touches on our Provence trip for Easter (!) that I've barely found time to write, read and comment on all your beautiful blogs. Until I have more time to sit down and really write... some lovely little images for you to enjoy that make my heart sing the song of Provence!

we missed these gorgeous luminaires at the latest
antiques auction in Provence... helas!

the apricot/tangerine color of this house
makes me happy!

tomatoes at the Aix-en-P. market

campanile... bell tower, graceful, lacy and found
all over Provence

my first purchases in Provence:
deco leather club chair and empire chandelier

the pigments found in Rouissillon, the magical
village where they make and celebrate

so pretty from Pierre Frey "Tree of Life"

witty Provençal cocktail table from Roche-Bobois

happy print from Les Olivades

the no-color look of

another Les Olivades stripe linen

elegant iron towel rack from Coté Bastide

sumptuous tiled bathroom

Les Olivades toile de juoy in sunny yellow

glasses Coté Bastide

Matisse fabric Les Olivades

I think this gorgeous bedroom is Roche-Bobois, but
not sure!

les Indiennes in cotton

typical country home in Provence

Pierre Frey of course!

desolé! my auction review shows we also missed
this stunning necklace at the Provence sale!

well who else but Roche-Bobois can do Provence like this?

a happy scene in a village square... boules!

ribbons at an outdoor market

sit a while at l'Isle sur la Sorgue... a little rest from
all the fabulous antiquing and brocanting!

silk tent a lå Pierre Frey

the paisley on linen look

this sketch by THE Louis Vuitton in the 19th C. was also at auction!

sunny colors of this Les Olivades fabric


There's still time to join us...but hurry!
space is limited!


11 January 2011

Dreaming of Provence :)

Just barely able to keep up with projects and work after the long and luxurious holidays, I find myself dreaming of Provence. Would you like to join me at our own private, chic little gite in the Luberon hills? Well, we can dream of lovely holidays to come!

Tory Burch espradrilles are perfect for
our Provence escape!

the entrance gates to the compound
in the Luberon hills where we will
find our own private little gite tucked
into the hillside

climbing the stone stairway up to our little haven in the sky!

arriving at our own private courtyard

the poolside seriously beckons to us!

our friends can join us under the shade in the wicker chairs
for a lazy dejeuner

the living room is cool, comfortable and oh so chic!

love these glam lights over the limestone stairway

sleeping with a view of the hills!

the adorable "loft de entertainment" awaits late night movie watching

simple and romantic, light is filtered through organdy canopy

a restful palette of stone, cream and gray with freshly ironed linens

putty painted headboards are the ultimate in rustic simplicity under
the rafters in the grenier

all photos are of La Grange near Beaumes de Venise

And what, you ask, should we pack to wear for such a chic getaway? Toss in a few little things by Tory Burch, bien sür! Ready? Let's go!

here we are, cherie! we look fabulously relaxed beside our piscine
in our perfectly languorous resort wear

getting dressed for a walk in the village

colorful accessories and stripes are the perfect foil for
the limestone and tile surroundings

a little bit Missoni, a little bit Indienne, a little bit Provence... this look
is utterly perfect for our chic little vacance in the Luberon!



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