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!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

White Wednesday: 2010 "Theme" Tree

How fitting that I would have pictures of my theme tree this year all ready to go in time for White Wednesday....because, after all, my theme tree for this year is white! White with birds and snowflakes to be exact.

I'll be linking up with Faded Charm for White Wednesday, so be sure to check back to see all the other wonderful whites for this week!

In the meantime...............

These little "bouquets" of flowers and ribbon I made myself and then tucked them into the branches.

Mr Snowy Owl gets to sit right at the top of the tree. An owl is considered a good luck omen!

Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Front Doors Dressed for Christmas

The double front doors at Le Beau Paon are one of my favorite things about the front of our house. The double doors really come in handy when bringing in large pieces of furniture (the harmonium and the piano come to mind.) I'd really love to have some fancy new door hardware too, but that's for another time.

I started my Christmas decorating this weekend and decided to get going on the outdoor decorations first, since the weather was sunny and the temperatures were in the high 30s, low 40s, which isn't too bad for this time of year. I began my decorating with making a garland to go around the double front doors.

I was looking for a picture of the front doors with no decorations, but then realized that I don't seem to have any. I guess I never take pictures of the front doors unless I'm showing them off with some kind of decorations in place. So, here is a picture of them with my Hallowe'en decor in place.

So, try to imagine them without the pumpkins!

And here are some "after" pictures..............
After I took this picture I realized that I took the picture without my Christmas wreath hanging up! I'll have more pictures of the porch another time, when I have all the lights put up and also the garland that I did around the porch railings.

The center of the garland: to which I added some faux red berries. The rest of the greenery is all natural greenery. This year I went with a mixed white pine and cedar garland. I usually buy a 25' garland from a local nursery. I also decided to add some other elements to the garland to give it more punch. The variegated cedar adds an alternative color. I also added some Carolina Sapphire Blue boughs for a different texture, and red huckleberry branches for interest and color. I do like to use natural greenery because it's very Victorian and it smells heavenly when entering the house.
Some more of the greenery frames the porch lights, along with a wired ribbon bow. The porch lights are mounted on big, scrolly brackets that really help anchor all the greenery. I don't really have to use much wire to hold everything up and even on windy days, this area is quite sheltered and I never have a problem with pieces becoming dislodged. At  the top of the doors, in the middle, there is a small ledge where the window is and I have one nail up there that I use to attach wire to. A couple of well placed staples along the top from a staple gun also helps and one or two on the sides are all I need. I don't like making holes in the wood siding, so I use them very sparingly and I try to put them in the same place as last year to minimize holes.
I also used some of the same white pine/cedar garland on the porch railings, with a few red bows and some balsam fir branches tucked in for added texture. I have to place all the lights in the garland before I consider it "done", so I didn't take any pictures yet of the whole porch.

I had some leftover garland and greenery which I have used inside the house, but those pictures are for another post!

Thanks for stopping by!
I'll be linking up with Susan at Between Naps on the Porch for Metamorphosis Monday
and also Outdoor Wednesday, hosted by A Southern Daydreamer!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

It's Beginning to Look A Little Like Christmas...

A few Christmas-y things have appeared at Le Beau Paon Victorien over the last couple of days.......

I bought this Christmas pillow from Pottery Barn and it just arrived on Wednesday. I don't often buy things like this from Pottery Barn because I think a lot of their decor stuff is waaaaay overpriced and I can usually make something similar myself for a lot less money. But I fell in love with this bird decoupage pillow. It's really huge!
There was a red plaid pillow that I saw in the catalog that I liked too; but it was 'no longer available'. Maybe I'll sew my own red plaid pillow!
And this is the little project that I did for part of my outdoor holiday display, using those two oversized red ornaments that I bought last week on sale (click HERE for that post). The red flocked ribbon was one of the rolls I bought that same day for 50% off and the greenery too. I have two hooks on my front porch that in the summer months I use for hanging plants. I'm going to hang one of these guys on each hook.
The greenery came in a bunch with some pine cones, but I cut it all apart with my wire snips and then just hot glued the pieces I wanted in an arrangement that I thought was pretty. I saved the pine cones for another project. The ribbon is wired, so it will keep it's shape. The nice thing about faux Christmas greenery is that generally it's plastic, so it holds up pretty well in the outdoors. The ribbon probably will get somewhat faded after a few years, but that's okay. It's only tied onto the ball, so I can easily replace it with different ribbon if it starts to look bad.

Thanks for stopping by! Stay tuned for more Christmas decor to come!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Food: Holiday Favorites

I had some of this in my morning coffee yesterday. Mmmmm....heaven in a cup!

And of the two pumpkin pies I made yesterday, this was all that was left. I forgot to take a picture of both of them when they came out of the oven; they were so beautiful! Instead, I leave you with this vision of a decimated pie. There's enough here for both Erik and I to have a piece tonight. Along with leftover turkey and stuffing and potatoes!  Hmmm....I already feel hungry!
Instead of the traditional mashed with gravy, I made potato gatto, which was a request from Erik and his family. It's an Italian dish, sometimes known as "potato cake". The name gatto comes from gateau, which is French for 'cake'. It is sometimes baked in cake pan and can be cut into slices or wedges, much like a cake. It is a dish that originated from Naples. Before Italy became unified, Naples was under French rule for many years. I've seen recipes that add peas and onions to the gatto, but my recipe does not have either. It is a concoction of mashed potatoes, Genoa salami or proscuitto, pecorino, parmesano and mozzarella cheeses. It is baked in a casserole dish that has been buttered and dusted with bread crumbs.
I will be posting the recipe I use later this week.

Thanks for stopping by! I hope everyone had an enjoyable Thanksgiving Day!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Vintage Voice: It Happened in November

November 2, 1872: Victoria Woodhull, 'free-love' candidate for president for the Equal Rights Party, goes to jail for sending obscene material through the mail. ( The "offensive" material was an article congratulating the popular preacher, Henry Ward Beecher, for having the good sense to dally with a married lady parishioner but chiding him for his failure to openly advocate the free love he clearly practiced.)

November 2, 1948: Thomas E. Dewey fails to oust Harry S. Truman from the White House.

November 6, 1878: Grave robbers steal the body of merchant king A.T. Stewart and hold it for ransom. Along with William Astor and Cornelius Vanderbilt, Alexander Turney Stewart was one of the three richest Americans of his time. A millionaire by 1837, he made his fortune in the New York rail trade. Two years after his death in 1876, grave robbers spirited away Stewart's corpse. Henry Hilton, the late Stewart's attorney and long time friend, offered a $25,000 reward for it's return. He later doubled the reward with no response. Tales of the corpse's safe return circulated until 1886 when Mrs. Stewart died. Since she left no provision in her will for the search to continue, speculation increased  that the corpse had been returned and re-buried at some point, but nobody knew for sure. The memoirs of a retired policeman claimed that the body had been ransomed, but several dubious details were never verified and to this day, nobody knows where the remains of New York's first great merchant price now rest.

November 7, 1876: Secret Service agent Lewis Swegles foils grave robbers in their attempt to steal the body of Abraham Lincoln. Soon after, the Lincoln Guard of Honor was formed to protect the President's remains and the coffin was taken to a memorial hall. Later it was buried again; there were a dozen more moves before the coffin was sealed in 1901 in a steel and concrete vault beneath the burial chamber in Springfield.

November 7, 1916: Montana elects Jeannette Rankin to be America's first congresswoman.

November 7, 1918: World War I ends the first time. Just before noon on Nov. 7, the New York headquarters of the United Press received a cable from it's president which read, "Urgent. Armistice allies Germans signed 11 morning hostilities ceased two afternoon." The news set off celebrations across the nation. Everywhere people poured into streets, laughing and crying and delirious New York crowds cheered one of the largest tickertape parades in history. Problem was, the news was false, a hoax apparently put forth by German spies, which was discovered later that evening. Four days later, on the 11th, peace was officially declared.

November 11, 1833: Cornelius Vanderbilt is seriously injured in America's first fatal train wreck. Although 90 percent of his fortune came from railroads, Vanderbilt hated trains. His antipathy dated from a train trip in 1833 where he was a passenger, along with former President John Quincy Adams, on the Camden and Amboy Railroad. The train broke an axle and jumped the track, killing two people and critically injuring Vanderbilt. It was the first fatal train wreck in U.S. history. Vanderbilt did recover, and was 83 when he died in 1877.

November 11, 1918: World War I ends again.

November 15, 1902: Teddy Roosevelt's sportsmanship brings about the first 'teddy bear'.

November 16, 1800: Abigail Adams, arriving in Washington D.C. at the unfinished White House, finds she must hang her laundry in the East Room.

November 16, 1807: The women of New Jersey lose the right to vote. According to the state constitution drawn up by the Provincial Congress of New Jersey in 1776, women had the right to vote in that state. It may have been an oversight, but the document stipulated that "all inhabitants" meeting age and residency requirements could vote. No reference was made to gender. Oddly enough, the women of the state had not petitioned for suffrage and seemed actually quite indifferent to it. There is no record of a New Jersey woman voting before 1790, but during a particularly close running by two candidates for state legislature in 1797, a group of 75 women from Elizabeth, NJ cast ballots for their hometown candidate. After that, women ( many of them often underage as well)  were literally hauled to the polls in wagons and carriages by candidates and party leaders who were eager for votes. The result of this "corruption and abuse" made New Jersey lawmakers quickly pass new voting laws in 1807 that barred women from voting.

November 18, 1872: Susan B. Anthony is arrested for voting.

November 18, 1883: Railroads invent time zones.

November 19, 1863: Abraham Lincoln delivers the Gettysburg Address.

November 25, 1783: The British, who have held New York City throughout the Revolutionary War, go home at last. "Evacuation Day" is celebrated in New York until 1916.

And although we celebrate Thanksgiving Day on the final Thursday of the month of November, the date of the celebration had varied throughout history. By the mid-20th century, the last Thursday in November had become the customary day in most states. It wasn't until 1941 that President Franklin D Roosevelt signed a bill into law with Congress  to make Thanksgiving an "official" national holiday and permanently fixed the date. The date the bill was signed? December 26, 1941.

Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Mosaic Monday: Harvest

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I'll be joining Mary at Little Red House for Mosaic Monday!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

A Saturday Shopping Excursion; Decking the Halls?

Are you almost ready to Deck the Halls?  I confess that I am actually feeling anxious to start getting my Christmas things out, even though I usually don't start until December 1st.

This year I told myself that I could start earlier, but I'd still have to wait until after Thanksgiving.

That, however, didn't stop me from picking up a few things today in anticipation of my holiday decorating. Erik and I went to do some rare weekend grocery shopping (I almost never go grocery shopping on a weekend; I value my sanity too much!). We also stopped in at one of my favorite stores, Stein's.

I had noticed that they were already having sales on holiday decor items. Christmas ribbon was already 50% off, so I picked up these three rolls for a couple of projects I'm planning on doing. I also bought those two big red ball ornaments on sale. I have a plan for those; they are going to be part of my outdoor display. My outdoor display is a work in progress and I'm gradually adding elements to it. The reason my outdoor holiday display has been so shamefully neglected for the last 4 years is that up until last year, we had no outdoor electrical outlets. Yes, that's right. None.

When our house was built in 1886, they didn't have electricity yet in our town, so our house was gas-lit. Electricity came to Waukesha in 1890, but our house did not get converted to electricity until probably about 1920. The garage, which was built sometime between 1929-1934, was wired for electricity, but it was never updated and never replaced with modern wiring, so currently our garage has no electricity. Nobody ever bothered to have any outdoor electrical outlets put in either, so we finally had an electrician friend install one for us in the summer of 2009. Which is why we never bought any outdoor Christmas lights until last year and hence, why I haven't done much with outdoor decorating.

I also found this silver cup thingy for $1.99 and thought it would make a perfect little stand for a black and white carpet ball. It looks very cute on the coffee table next to my black candle stands.
They also had these paperwhite bulb kits on sale and I've always wanted to try these out for myself, so I bought one. It comes with the green pot which I did end up using. I was looking for something else a little fancier that would be suitable, but didn't find anything that I already owned that would work. Maybe I'll tie some white ribbon around the pot and make it look more stylish!
We also bought some corn cobs for the squirrels (and that's a squirrel feeder upside down on the bottom of the box). We have lots of squirrels in our neighborhood and I see them often in my yard and on top of our garage roof. We have several albino squirrels around too. I don't have a problem with squirrels; sure, they dig around in my flower pots and flower beds on occasion, but they've never wrecked anything and I figure they have just as much right to be here as I do. After all, we're all God's creatures, great and small. Besides, Olive and E.B. (the cats) love to watch the squirrels out the window and I know they get such enjoyment from that.
Erik persuaded me to pick up some ornaments for my next year's theme tree; we saw the most beautiful peacock theme tree and of course, we all know that I have to have a peacock tree! I normally wait until after the holidays to get my ornaments for the next year's tree because I can get ornaments usually at 70-80% off, but as I said, they were already having a sale right now, so I picked up a few. Admittedly, when I wait until the January sale, everything can be fairly picked over. Erik said that it would be smart to get some of the prettiest ones right now because they probably wouldn't have any of these left in January.

And this is going to be the tree topper:

Now, of course, looking at these pictures makes me want to get my Christmas trees up!
I'll be linking this up with The Tablescaper for Seasonal Sundays!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Cat Napping

The weather has turned quite chilly lately; we had a beautiful fall with nice (but very dry) weather.
However, November in Wisconsin is never pretty.
The trees have all lost their leaves; the world is a study of dull browns and bleak greys.

We often have days or even weeks of overcast cloud cover, with no sun shining. It makes for a very depressing time and pretty much all I want to do is hibernate until spring.

I think my cats have the right idea.....the gloomy weather makes me want to nap right along with them!

Ho-hum..... I must have my beauty rest.
What? Leave this bed? But why suggest such a ridiculous thing?

Wake me when it's nice outside.
E.B. 's favorite place to spend the cold winter days....right in front of a heating vent, his head pillowed on a burlap sack of catnip.

You know you want to join me.............let's be cat nappers together!

Thanks for visiting!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Tabletop Tuesday/Centerpiece Wednesday: A Fall Centerpiece

Although my Hallowe'en decorations have traveled back up to the attic, some of my fall decor is lingering.
I used a number of my fall decor pieces to make one big centerpiece on the dining room table.

If I had a few turkeys I could add them to the mix; but I actually don't really own any Thanksgiving decorations, believe it or not!

It was sort of fun to take all my fall things from around the house and make something 'new'. Do you notice the "candy corn" candles? Too cute! They were a gift this year.

I'll be linking up with Marty at A Stroll Thru Life for Tabletop Tuesday and with The Style Sisters for Centerpiece Wednesday!

Thanks for stopping by!