Monday, April 30, 2012

Made in the Jade

I have been reading the book Shanghai Girls by Lisa See. I cannot tell you how much I love this book. Every time I open the pages and start to read, I am transported to 1930's Shanghai or the shanty, Chinese neighborhoods of Los Angeles during the same time. I love historical fiction and this book rates up there with my all-time faves. In the book, I have learned a lot about Chinese culture and there is  a lot of talk about the importance of jade. One of the main characters is given her mother's jade bracelet and it is mentioned throughout the book. Needless to say, all of this talk about jade has made me more aware of the color jade and it's place in my world. Whether jade to you is a soft, turquoise green or a light green, it makes a calm statement in any interior and is peaceful to the eye. Yes, I realize that jade by any other name is green and well, I love green, so this is just another excuse to post about one of my favorite colors. Enjoy the pics and go read the book.

Happy Monday,


Pictures via: Pinterest

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Chargers and Wedding Shower Do Overs

Forgive me for back-tracking a bit, but I wanted to share my Easter table setting with you! Easter Sunday was our first time to have a big, family gathering in our new home. Easter is my favorite celebration and I love to host. We also celebrate six, yes six, April family birthdays at Easter. (If you must know, my sister-in-law is the third, my brother is the eighth, Fisherman is the twelfth, my step-mother-in-law is also the twelfth, my grandmother, Birdie, is the fifteenth and Mr. Pearl is the sixteenth - whew!) We have a blast when we are all together with both sides of my family joining in.

The Birthday Bunch!

This amazing young man turned FOURTEEN!

I wanted to make this Easter extra special. I fell like this house has been a longtime in the making and I was excited to have everyone here. So, I opened the china closet, an indulgence that we were able to include in the remodel and I pulled-out my wedding china. China that I do use but all of a sudden, it lacked the punch that I wanted and I didn't have enough of any of my vintage collections to really set the table. I know that I am not the only one that wishes that I could have a "wedding shower do over." Not the wedding mind you, I will keep Mr. Pearl, just the shower. I often think that wedding showers are wasted on young couples. Why can't we just give them a little money, some good towels and everyday dishes and be done with it? One really needs a wedding shower after about twelve years of marriage. The good towels are threadbare (okay, I admit it, I will spend money on high thread count, monogrammed towels that guests see and use, but for everyday? Don't ask. It's money I hate to spend. Like spending money on plumbing or AC or tires for your car - necessary but there isn't any real "show" for the expense.) Back to my tangent, yes, new towels are needed, replacements for all of the glasses and dishes the kids have broken and the wedding china that every bride must have? She doesn't like anymore. I like mine, it is just plain. It is "safe", so I would always be able to use it and not grow tired of it. The one thing I wouldn't change? My silver. I was fortunate to inherit Francis I from my mother-in-law and her mother and I love it and really use it a lot. Life is too short not to use the good silver. You may quote that!

Here is a pic of the "safe" china - Wedgewood's Royal Lapis

 I did supplement my china with some of Spode's Blue Room - my love!

My quick solution for my dilemma, since it doesn't look like there are any "wedding shower do overs" in my future, was to add some chargers. Adding chargers, while paying attention to the pocketbook. Mama needs window treatments you know. Anywho, a quick trip to Garden Ridge to purchase cheapo gold charger plates, some paint and imagination and presto - just the punch the table needed. Even if my sweet mom was the only one that noticed the chargers, I knew they were there and I loved them. I painted the outside with white craft paint and added stripes in green, pink and pale blue with some flowers and swirlies - easy peasy. So, next time you find yourself lamenting the taste or lack there of that your younger self had, paint some chargers. Or, go register for new stuff and ask your friends to throw you a "wedding shower do over".

The charger "before"

The charger "during"

The charger "after" with afore mentioned Wedding china

The Pearl Family



Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Back in the Saddle Again

Hello friends - if anyone is still there. I took a wee break from the blog. Don't get me wrong, I thought of you often and even tried to blog once or twice, but my blog mojo had deserted me for a time. I have found it though and I am back, from outer space. (name that song) Actually, I am back from California. Mr. Pearl had a meeting in San Francisco, so we took the opportunity to leave a little early, since we had my mother-in-law with the mini-pearls and went north of San Fran to Sonoma and Napa. I think that I have made it pretty clear, how much I love my home state of Texas, but when I travel to places like where I have just been, I have to question my sanity. I mean, Texas has some beautiful country, but where I live and in most of the big cities here, it ain't the weather or the beauty of the land that makes this place so appealing. In fact, it's down right hot and ugly and humid and not near an ocean and I live here - by choice. Why? I really don't have an answer for you. Except that it's Texas, and I love it and the people. Okay, back to my story...

The Muir Woods

Mr. Pearl surprised me with reservations at a fabulous bed and breakfast just off the square in Sonoma. The place was a converted farmhouse and outbuildings from 1906. It was divided into individual guest cottages around a gorgeous courtyard with lush landscaping. I contemplated asking the proprietor if I could stay on as the housekeeper or something. I did not want to leave! We hired a driver and drove around to the wineries and participated in many tastings. I am a California "wine-o" now. I "know" wine or I have tasted it at least. I could not get over how beautiful everything is there. The mountains and rolling hills, acres of vineyards and blooming flowers as far as the eye could see. I loved sitting on the veranda each morning, wrapped in my sweater, sipping coffee and smelling the wisteria that was growing on the trellis below. Heaven. Alas, we had to come home, but not before we hiked in Muir woods, stopped at the "World's Largest Petrified Forrest", drove through the Russian River Valley and cruised highway 1 along the coast. 

The front of our guest house and the wisteria vine

An old winery - so hard to believe that this is in the U.S.

This view - I never got tired of it

Another winery - a bit more modern than the last - love the architecture and the landscaping

I had never scene how and where wine is aged - a lot of wineries still store their oak barrels in caves where the temperature is cool and constant. We actually had a tasting in this cave!

Ok, I loved this stop! This is not the government owned petrified forrest national park, but a privately owned stop. It is a total throw-back to the 1950's when families loaded into the family four door and drove and the drive was part of the fun!    I don't think the facilities have been updated since the fifties but it was a blast. And yes, the petrified trees were enormous!

Hello Pacific Ocean - highway one on the Sonoma coast

You can laugh at this one. My arm just isn't long enough to snap a good pic!

The Russian River Valley

San Francisco is fabulous and if you have never been, put it on your list. It is beautiful and has a very European fell which I love. There is so much to see and do, but Mr. P and I have been there several times and well, it was great, but it didn't hold a candle to the beauty of Sonoma and the area to the north. Maybe that is the wine talking... We had a wonderful trip. It is good to be back and I am working on some new posts. Thank you for sticking with me. I wish this blog had "taste-o-vision" so I could share some of my wine finds with you. Maybe someday!

The Golden Gate - we drove across it!