Welcome to Le Beau Paon Victorien! I'm so glad you stopped by!

Here you will find a variety of things that might interest you: food, books, house decor, crafty things, random thoughts, dishes, gardening and more!

Spend some time with us and happy reading!

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Crafty Things: Nature Lends a Hand....

Well, nature lent more than a hand with this "project". In fact, a bird did most of the work, while I did hardly anything. It was probably a robin, I'm guessing, who obligingly constructed this darling nest in a tree in my yard, so that in the dead of winter, when all the leaves were gone and I spied it in the branches of my maple tree, I decided I had to have it for a spring centerpiece and went and got it. 

I'll be using it as a spring centerpiece for my Tablescape next week for Tablescape Thursday. So here's a sneak peek.

I debated for five minutes about how many eggs should go in the nest; three or four? Hmmmm....decisions, decisions. How silly is that?  I finally went with four eggs, but reserve the right to change my mind. ;-)

See you soon and thanks for visiting!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Show & Tell Friday: The Guzzle Family

Sorry for the persistent glare from the ceiling fixture; I could not find an angle to take the picture where it wasn't on there! These are reproductions of paper dolls from the 18th century that I bought in Colonial Williamsburg in 2003, then assembled and framed. I had cut out all the clothes and accessories and their faces and legs etc and paste them all together. I love them; they are so cute!

Firstly there are Sampson Guzzle, "Dry Salter,  worth seventy thousand pound". And his wife, Sally Guzzle, who was "in her youth Esteem'd Pretty".

And their two sons. Timothy Guzzle, "Eldest son of the Sampson Guzzles" and "the would-be soldier" and then Dick Guzzle, who is merely "intended for business."

It took me a couple of years to find a frame that was the right size, but the Guzzle family now hangs in the parlor.

Thanks for stopping by! I'm linking this post to Cindy's My Romantic Home for Show and Tell Friday.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

This and That: Cute Things

So I didn't get a chance to do a tablescape this week for Tablescape Thursday, but I have plans for one that I hope to have put together for next week..........

Until then, here are some cute things I recently acquired.
I found this cute mossy basket at a local antique shop in one of the charity booths. It was $4.

It even had a teeny little mushroom bird in it. I was looking for something like this last Easter for an idea I had for a spring/Easter centerpiece. I didn't find what I wanted last year and was considering making my own mossy basket when I found this one!

I also recently bought this box of green speckled eggs at TJMaxx for $5. They will be perfect for my idea!

I also scored these darling plates at TJ Maxx for $3.99 each. They only had four of the dinner plates in this green color (the photo is a little dark, but these are a pretty light green.) They also had other ones that looked like this in a golden yellow color. They had more of the yellow ones; dinner plates, salad plates and bowls. But I really wanted this green color. Hmmmm....green plates, green speckled eggs, green mossy basket... do we see a trend here??

I love this little rag doll bunny. I wonder if I can find a way to incorporate her into a table scape?? I did not make the bunny doll, but I did sew her dress.

Many moons ago, when I was much younger, a craft store I used to go to frequently had these rag doll bunnies for purchase and you could also purchase the pattern for the dress. The lacy middy collar is actually a  rectangular Battenburg lace doily with a slit cut in the center and sewed into the neck of the dress. I'm not much of a sewer, but this pattern was relatively simple. I used fabric from the remnants bin and then used coordinating ribbon for the bows on the bunny's ears and for her dress sash. I actually made several of these; I think there were five of them in total. I had the dress pattern for a long time, but eventually the craft store no longer had the rag doll bunnies available.Unfortunately I do not have the dress pattern anymore either, since this was probably 1989 when I made these. Three of the bunnies I made as Easter gifts. The other two were given to each of my grandmothers. I named the two bunnies after their mothers (my great-grandmothers). This bunny is Pauline, which was my maternal great-grandmother's "American" name (I believe her real name was Pelagia, which is the Polish version of Paula or Pauline). After my maternal grandmother passed away when I was twenty-one in 1991, I got Pauline back. She had sat on a pretty bench in my grandparent's bedroom and my mom thought that it was only right that I get to have her. I think she needs some new ribbons though. Twenty one years have gone by and they are looking a little frayed!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

This and That: I'll be back soon.....

I can't believe I haven't made a post in a week! I promise to be back blogging soon! My father-in-law was in town for the past 4 days and he stays with us at our house, in addition Erik's band had a show on Saturday night, so I had a pretty busy week and weekend!

On a more fun note, I found some really cute dishes on the cheap from TJMaxx which will soon be making their appearance for one of my Tablescapes.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Tablescape Thursday: Tea in the Parlor

I had a pretty busy week and didn't have time to put together a nice tablescape in advance for this week's Tablescape Thursday. But I did manage to quickly throw together something just in time! I decided to make up a nice little tea table in the parlor. I wish I had been able to get pictures with day lighting however!

I'm using my vintage silver service. Teapot and sugar bowl and creamer. I wish I had a beautiful little tea cart, but in lieu of a tea cart, a small low table works well too. The hubby and I did see a great antique tea cart last year but we didn't buy it right away (should have!!!) and of course, when we went back a week later it was gone.

We'll have some cookies with our tea; Valentine's Day heart cut-outs and Biscoff cookies (my favorite!).

One chair for you.....

And one chair for me! These chairs are not a matched set but they are remarkably similar. Typically parlor chairs with arms were for gentlemen and the chairs without arms were for ladies ( to accommodate their sometimes voluminous dresses). The ladies' chairs are also usually very low to the floor, to enable them to reach young, small children easier.

The mantel is aglow with candles, which reflect in the huge mirror that takes up the entire wall behind the fireplace.

We'll be having Vienna Tea today, from Demmers Teehaus in Vienna. My mother bought this loose-leaf tea in Vienna when she visited there. In one of the above pictures you can see the front of the tea tin, which has a picture of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart on it. The Viennese are very proud of Mozart, who lived and worked in Vienna for most of his adulthood, even though he was born and raised in Salzburg (which is now part of Austria). Many of his best-known works were composed in Vienna.

A candle in a crystal candlestick, with a crystal bobeche with pendants, casts a romantic glow over the tea table.

People frequently comment on our three fireplaces. They are all original to the house and two of them still have their beautiful ceramic tile hearths.All of them have their original mantels also. They were originally coal-burning fireplaces and probably had beautiful fire-boxes. At some point in our house's long history, two of the fireplaces were converted to gas (this one and the one in our front entry hall). The gas has been long disconnected, however, and we do not use the fireplaces. We had been told that houses of this age did not have chimney liners and none were ever put in later either, which is very dangerous and a fire hazard. For this reason, we do not use them. Someday we plan to have the chimneys cleaned out and lined so that we might use them. I have a black, wrought iron candle stand with white pillar candles inside the fireplace, but I did not light the candles. (They are almost burned down all the way and I need more!)

Let's dim the lights! (The previous owners had a liking for dimmer switches and installed dimmers in many of the downstairs rooms---it's kind of nice actually!)

This picture looks like there's a flame right in the ostrich plume, but that's a reflection in the mirror!  :-)   I took this picture, however, to show how one part of the ostrich plume is a little charred; that happened two years ago during a party. One of my candles was a little too close to the feather!

Maybe we'll  listen to a little music on our Mandel upright phonograph (c. 1916-1917) while we have tea!

Thanks for joining me today for Tablescape Thursday! Be sure to view all the other great tablescapes, hosted by Susan over at Between Naps on the Porch!

Mandel Upright Cabinet Phonograph c.1916-1917 : purchased at an auction for $10. Still works!
Vintage linens: recent purchase at an antique shop in my area
Vintage silver tea pot, creamer and sugar bowl, part of a 5 pc set: $60 at a shop specializing in items acquired at estate sales.
Parlor chairs: Ladies chair, wedding gift, 2007, from an antique store. Gentleman's chair, given to me by my great aunt.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Vintage Voice: Abigail Adams

President's Day was yesterday, so I was thinking about Presidents and naturally, my mind then wandered to the President's wives.  Probably one of my favorite presidential wives is Abigail Smith Adams (1744-1818), wife of John Adams, Second President of the United States, and mother of John Quincy Adams, Sixth President of the United States.

She was known for her spunky intelligence and strongly expressed views. During her husband's term of office she was often referred to as "Mrs. President". Her husband often relied on her advice and sought it out repeatedly and they exchanged many letters filled with intellectual discussions on government and politics. She was also an advocate for married women's right to property and more opportunities for women, particularly in education. This was a time when most women had no formal education of any kind.  It was her belief that women should educate themselves and be recognized for their intellectual capabilities, so that they could better guide and influence the lives of their children and husbands. Truly, she was a woman ahead of her time.

If Abigail had gone to the Continental Congress in 1776 instead of her husband, the status of American women might have been quite different. As a woman, of course she could not go, but she did what she could to  raise her husband's "consciousness", as he helped shape a new nation.

On March 31, 1776, she wrote to him , " I long to hear that  you have declared an independency, and by the way, in the new Code of Laws, which I suppose it will be necessary for you to make, I desire you would remember the Ladies, and be more generous and favourable to them than your ancestors. Do not put such unlimited power into the hands of the Husbands. Remember that all Men would be tyrants if they could.  If particular care and attention is not paid to the Ladies were are determined to form a Rebellion, and will not hold ourselves bound by any Laws in which we have no voice, or Representation."

Her husband's reply on April 14 was somewhat satirical and droll, "As to your extraordinary Code of Laws, I cannot help but laugh. Depend upon it, we know better than to repeal our masculine systems...... We have only the name of Masters, and rather than give up this, which would completely subject us to the Despotism of the Petticoat, I hope General Washington and all our brave Heroes would fight."

Abigail tartly replied on May 7  to remind her husband that "arbitrary power is like most other things which are very hard; very liable to be broken!.... and, we have it in our power not only to free ourselves, but to subdue our Masters and throw both your natural and legal authority at our feet."

Despite their verbal sparring, it was very apparent in the many letters written to each other during their marriage that John Adams was very sincere in his trust of his wife's views and advice, and that they mutually shared emotional and intellectual respect for each other.

As we might say today, "You go, girl!"

Monday, February 15, 2010

Mosaic Monday: Be Mine

                                                                 (click to view larger!)
A Valentine's mosaic for your enjoyment! Please be sure to visit Little Red House for more wonderful Mosaics!
Posted by Picasa

Sunday, February 14, 2010

This and That: Happy Valentine's Day!

Happy Valentine's Day to all in blogland!

Hope everyone had a nice day! I made some sugar cookie cut-outs in heart shapes for me and the hubby....I also shared some with co-workers and put them in clear cello bags with some ribbon and a tag. Sweet!

Fabulous Vintage Apron

Did I ever mention my love for vintage aprons? I am sure I must have.....but if you missed the 'memo', there it is. For years I only owned one apron; it was a full apron, black, with a picture of wine bottles on it and it was a modern-day type apron. Functional. Sturdy. Boring.
I usually like to wear an apron in the kitchen, since I'm sort of a messy chef, and I always get things on my clothes that inevitably will stain. Especially if I'm entertaining and I'm already dressed for the party and I have a few last minute things to put together or a sauce or salad dressing to mix up, I will usually end up spilling something on myself. Cue the apron. My grandmother always wore one in the kitchen and I'm quite sure most of them were ones she had owned since her earliest days of married life. I started to appreciate the apron and it's usefulness, especially the charming vintage ones,  only a few years ago. I love how many of them were hand-made and adorned with pretty trim and embroidery. It was like fashion and function all in one! I could keep my clothes clean and also look ravishing!

I have about five or six vintage aprons now and I find them at consignment shops and other places like that,
usually for less than $6.  Yesterday I was antiquing with my mother-in-law and came across this beautiful blue apron. I knew I had to have it!!! And my husband, the sweetie that he is, bought it for me.

I love the Tiffany blue color and the white rick-rack trim!

My mother-in-law and I considered that the white diamond-shaped fabric with the blue tulips might actually be a matched pair of handkerchiefs that were sewed on to make pockets. The fabric is thin and dainty enough that they do look a lot like they might have been handkerchiefs at one time. This apron was obviously home sewed. It is in really good shape, with only a small stain on the front, near the top. I will definitely feel like a fashionista the next time I wear this apron in my kitchen!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Show & Tell Friday: Beautiful Bouquets

I think that today's silk flowers are of such quality that you can make really beautiful arrangements and bouquets that look so real, they can really fool the observer (until they take a closer look, of course!)  I love real flowers very much, but they only last so long in a cut arrangement and if you are like me, and have only a small yard with newer plantings, you may not have cutting gardens large enough to cut flowers without decimating your entire flower bed and leaving it bare of blooms! Especially in a northern state like Wisconsin, where we only have a growing season of a few months, it can take years and years for cutting gardens to get prolific enough.

Because I love the look of elegant bouquets and flower arrangements in my house, but don't always have enough fresh flowers available, I rely on my crafty-ness to make up for, artificially, what nature cannot sometimes provide for me!

Here are some simple silk arrangements that I have made for my home:
This one was super simple because I placed the flower stems in a tall glass vase that is filled with white iridescent glass "stones" and just moved things around to the way I wanted it to look. So easy!  I have pink and white silk peonies and green viburnum in this arrangement. I move this bouquet around the house. Sometimes it sits on top of the harmonium in the parlor and sometimes it gets moved to my dining room table as a nice spring time centerpiece. The peonies themselves were a little more pricey than some silks, because they are very high-quality and they actually feel like real petals when you touch them (I think they added some latex to them), but I don't mind that they were a little more; the whole thing was still much cheaper than ones I see pre-made in stores.

This wreath I made for the back door with silk flowers I found on clearance. I bought the grapevine wreath and then used floral wire and some hot glue to attach the flowers and filler. It cost me about $8 to make this.

This one I made for the table in our front entry hall. I bought the container and silk flowers at a local crafting store and used a foam block in the container to place the flowers. I always use a little hot glue on each stem before placing it in the foam.

I also used my mad crafting skills to make the bouquets for my wedding in 2007. I love the look of fresh flowers for wedding bouquets, but I don't love the cost. To help rein in the cost of our wedding and to satisfy my frugal nature, I made five bridesmaids bouquets and one bride's bouquets for less than a $120, which was a great price. And they looked very beautiful! Many of the guests at the wedding thought the flowers were real.

Bridesmaid's bouquet

Bridal Bouquet (with an antique brooch that I bought).

Each bouquet also had a jeweled pin with the initial of the girls' name on it. This was mine. :-)

Bridesmaid bouquet, side view

Bride bouquet

I also made wedding bouquets for others also:

The one on the left was for one of my sisters; she had an autumn wedding. The one on the right was for my other sister, she had a spring wedding, so I used white tulips and purple roses.

A friend of mine wanted very simple, small bouquets of red roses for her bridesmaids and a white rose bouquet for herself for her January wedding.

They all were not difficult to make and I had so much fun doing them! Thanks for stopping by and sharing in my Show and Tell. Be sure to visit Cindy's My Romantic Home for more Show and Tell Friday!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Tablescape Thursday: A Very Frou-Frou Valentine's Day Table

I was so excited when I put this tablescape together because I had so many ideas and it all came together just like it was in my head (that does not often happen; I usually have to 'tweak' or move things around a lot until satisfied). This one, however, came together beautifully and everything that I used were things I already owned. I believe the only things that I purchased to make this tablescape complete were some chocolates and conversation hearts...and the pink taper candles. I did not have any taper candles in pink!  I've used a lot of pink and red and white; all the traditional Valentine's Day colors and also many of the traditional Valentine's Day motifs; hearts, flowers, angels, birds and romantic couples.
And like any person with a love for all things Victorian, I've made this table as 'busy' and eye-popping as possible! I hope you enjoy this tablescape as much as I enjoyed putting it together.

For my centerpiece, I used this glass hurricane on a white metal stand. Inside I have red roses (silk) and on top a bouquet of white roses and pink hydrangea (also silk).

Around the base is a wreath of ivy with pink glass flowers. I have tucked some sprigs of tiny pink tea roses into the wreath also.

In the middle is a cute cherub blowing kisses. The centerpiece is flanked by two crystal candle holders with pink candles and pink be-ribboned hearts. The center items all sit on a pretty, embroidered cutwork lace dresser scarf, another one of many that I have. This vintage dresser scarf I bought for $4.

Here is my sweet little cherub; he looks a little worse for the wear. I've had him forever, as evidenced by the cracks and scuffs on him. The crack on his leg is where his foot broke off after my late and dearly departed cat Baby, knocked him off a shelf years ago, during his very rambunctious kittenhood.

A little hard to glimpse my crystal candle holders behind the hearts, but they have a rose pattern on them. They are Oneida and the pattern is called 'Southern Garden'. I have the matching bud vase and large vase. The bud vase I used in a previous Tablescape Thursday, on my Continental Breakfast in Bed post here.

Pink damask napkins in a champagne flute. This fold is called the "Peony". I've used this fold with my red napkins at Christmas-time many times in the past and it looks very festive. I've added a red silk rose and a little bit of ribbon here to go with my romantic Valentine's Day theme. For napkin folds that are anchored in a glass, I sometimes like to put the glass right in the middle of the plates on the cover, just for something different.

Some of you are probably already familiar with my fine china from other posts. I'm also using my oval lace placemats, but since I only have four and my table is set for six, the two settings on the end of the table have a vintage linen placemat.

Besides champange, we will also have coffee, so I've put out my coffee cup and saucer. Each place setting also gets a Dove chocolate; heart-shaped and wrapped in pink foil, of course!

And of course, I shouldn't forget this bisque-ware courtly gentleman in 18-century dress who makes up part of my romantic centerpiece. He has a lute, so I imagine he might be on his way to sing a ballad to his lady.

And here's his lovely lady, with her flower basket. She is either raising her arm to check her coiffure or maybe she is flirting with her lute-playing paramour. At any rate, they are now separated by my centerpiece. Usually this pair are on my mantel in the formal parlor. I don't know much about them or how old they are, but I bought them in an antique store because I loved their faces and the colors of their clothes. They stand on either side of a mantel clock, so I guess even in their "regular" place, they never get to be together! :sigh:

For place cards, I've used some of my antique cabinet cards from my own collection, that feature wedding couples. I've collected cabinet cards for many years and have quite a few; many of them are wedding pictures, which are my favorites. I used card stock and a scalloped oval punch to make the name tag and then placed it on top of the cabinet card, which is tucked between the salad plate and dinner plate.

My collection of cabinet cards featuring wedding couples came in handy for my wedding in 2007 also. Our wedding theme was "Vintage Modern" (stylish and elegant with vintage/Victorian elements) and for table numbers at the reception, which had assigned seating, I mounted the cabinet cards on fancy card-stock decorated with ribbons and other pretties and then printed out numbers on my inkjet printer.

In this picture you can see I also have a wire bird-cage tea-light holder; there is another at the other end of the table. This one has a leaf-like finial on top, the other one has a bird finial.

This vintage pink APG petal-shaped  serving bowl has a matching tray that it sits on. This bowl and tray has come in handy quite a bit. I've used the bowl and tray together, or separately. It works well for salads and equally well for holding spinach dip and crackers. I got this a few years ago from my step-mother. It had once belonged to her mother. After her mother passed away in 2004, the family found many things their mother had  had for years in storage. This serving bowl was one of the things they found, although nobody in the family remembers anything about it or where it came from. My stepmother gave it to me, knowing my fondness for such things.

We're having champagne, of course, as well! I don't have a champagne bucket, but I find that my ice bucket, sans lid, works just as well!

My mother-in-law gave us this bottle of champagne, which I'm actually saving for our anniversary. It's from movie director Francis Coppola's vineyard ( the champagne is called Sofia, after his daughter, who is also a movie director.) I've never tried any of his wines. I hope it's good! But I do like the label; so pretty!

I also have this footed APG compote with pink roses that matches nicely. This is a very recent acquisition; again, it was given to me by my stepmother and had once belonged to her mother.

What Valentine's Day table would be complete without conversation hearts??

Cue the romantic music; it is time to light the candles!

Thanks for stopping by!! Please be sure to visit all the other gorgeous tablescapes over at Between Naps on the Porch today for Tablescape Thursday!

Embroidered cutwork dresser scarf: $4, vintage, consignment shop
White painted metal bird-cage tea light holders: Michael's, this year
                 Antique cabinet cards of wedding couples: from my own collection, collecting since 1994
Footed  white-painted metal hurricane: Michael's, this year
Oval lace placemats: Quaker Lace, Boston Store, 1995
Ice bucket: "Tuscany", Macy's, 2008
Card stock, decorative paper, scallop oval punch: Stampin' Up, 2009