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!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Amazing Lace

I just love lace.....or in this case, lacy trims!

These were some recent purchases; crocheted lace trimmed doilies.........

Ahhh.....so pretty. (Can you see my reflection in the silver creamer? Ha ha....No matter where I stood, I was reflected...blue sweats and all!)

This one I put on top of the piano in the hall........ Look at those gorgeous roses!

This one was extra tight and extra thick....it must have taken a hundred years to make!!!! (Well, if it was me making it, maybe it would have!)

I have never tried thread crochet. Years ago I bought a pattern book at a rummage sale that had some patterns for thread crochet; doilies, a tablecloth etc. I looked at the pattern instructions and thought my head was going to explode. The intricacy! The delicacy! I presume you have to keep your tension very tight when doing thread crochet; my tension is not so good because my hands get tired so fast.

Needless to say, I never made anything in the pattern book and I don't think I even own it anymore!

Oh well, when I can buy these beautiful vintage labors of love, made by much more patient people than I, and only have to pay less than $10 usually for these.....that is worth it!

Thanks for stopping by! I'll be joining Faded Charm for White Wednesday this week!


Thursday, May 24, 2012

Crafty Things: Memorial Wreath

When most people plan their activities for Memorial Day weekend parades, picnics, barbeques and maybe even a weekend getaway or a camping trip is often part of that celebration.

Most people also remember that Memorial Day is for remembering; for remembering those who have served our country and also those who still do and honoring them and their sacrifices.

My father passed away only a couple of months ago and as a Marine who served in the Vietnam War, his stone at the cemetary will certainly get a flag, just like all the other veterans who have passed on.

But, he will also get a special honor from me, his oldest daughter, whom misses him so much

I made this special wreath to take to the cemetary this weekend to place where he rests.

I wanted it to look patriotic, but I thought the addition of the bright yellow gave it a nice pop of color and make it really stand out. 

To see a post I did last year for Memorial Day, click HERE.

Thanks for stopping by!
I will be joining Courtney at French Country Cottage for Feathered Nest Friday
and Cindy at My Romantic Home for Show & Tell Friday!

Have a safe and happy holiday weekend!


Monday, May 21, 2012

A Landscape Plan

Like most people who own an older home (in our case, a home about 126 years old), there's a lot of work that often needs to be done. This goes double when the home has been neglected, for the most part, for many years and has had many, many owners (like ours) that did nothing with it.

One of the bigger projects that we want for the house is to give it new life with beautiful landscaping.

I often take pictures of my flower gardens for my blog, but I don't usually show anything other than the flower garden I'm featuring or small parts of the yard and shots of our big front porch. There is quite a bit that I leave out when I take pictures.

There is good reason for this.

The majority of our yard is terrible looking.  Not in a weedy, unkempt way, but just a whole lot of nothing or a whole lot of ugly and old.

Our house sits on a small knoll; we live in one of the oldest sections of town and the land must have been quite hilly there. Many of the homes sit on a small rise above the street. Some have retaining walls, some have yards large enough where they have engineered the yard to slope softly down to the sidewalk and street.

Our lot is rectangular; it's longer than it is wide. This is a very common shape and size for the neighborhood we live in. Ours has a retaining wall that encircles more than half our lot. Because our house is on a corner of two intersecting streets, we have nearly 250 feet of retaining wall.

Pictured above: Ugly and old. 

There was once many large stately trees in our front yard and in the back yard, but they were all gone by the time we acquired the house. We were told by the previous owners that they had cut them all down because they didn't want to rake leaves.

The retaining wall is very old; it's concrete. It looks like old Depression-Era WPA concrete. It probably is from about that time period, because that's when they widened the streets and put in sidewalks, and probably cut off the long, gently sloping yard into an abrupt hill that required a retaining wall.

Above: Horrible steps that may kill you.

The front walk and these steps were probably done at a later date. You can see part of the ugly concrete retaining wall that is in front of our house. Needless to say it detracts from our house quite a bit.

 We also have a smaller porch in the back, with a walkway and another set of steps. The walkway and steps were probably done at the same time as these, but don't look nearly as bad. In that walkway, the person who did the concrete pressed a penny into it when it was wet.  I can't remember now the exact date on the penny but it was sometime in the late 1960s. 

Above: The horror.

In the above photo, I was standing on the sidewalk by the back steps looking at our back yard. It is very evident the poor condition the concrete wall  is in. There is also this perfectly hideous chain-link fence. I have nothing against chain-link fences, they have their uses and their purposes; but I did find it extraordinarily strange that someone would choose this type of fencing to encircle the entire back yard of the house and wouldn't plant anything around it to screen it's ugliness. The people we bought the house from had only lived in it for two years. They were the ones whom had put in this fence. They had a young child; presumably they wanted the yard fenced so the child could play in the yard without wandering into the street, however, I wonder why they would have chosen this type of fence. From what I understand, chain-link fencing is rather expensive or, at least, no more expensive than a wood privacy fence.  A wood fence would have looked much more attractive, and also would have provided privacy. 

So, you may ask.....why am I showing these pictures? 

They are going to be part of my "Before, During and After" posts regarding a VERY big and expensive project that we are finally in a position to do here at Le Beau Paon Victorien!



We chose a landscape company, after shopping around for the last two months, and have finally given them the "go ahead". It is a family-owned business and one of the sons is a landscape architect. Because we are doing such a large and expensive project with them, he offered to draw up a landscape design for the rest of the yard at no cost. Most of the time these kinds of services cost some money; I have heard of people paying $300-600 for a complete design.

He took pictures and measurements of our yard and then he and I looked through a stack of gardening magazines that I have been collecting for years ( and marking with sticky Post-It notes) to see what I liked and what I wanted to have in my yard and to get an idea of my style. 
Above:  My Stacks; kitchens on the left, gardens on the right.

We knew it would be really helpful to have a professional put everything together as far as the layout and what to do with "trouble spots".  And, what's nice about it is that we can pick and choose what things we may want to have a professional landscaper do ( like a patio and pergola) and what things we may want to do ourselves. They can also lay out and prepare all the planting beds for me and then I can do all the plantings myself, using transplants from family and friends or whatever I like. We can also do areas in piecemeal, as we are able to afford it, but still have a cohesive design and know where to put what. 
It's very exciting.

We also had a land surveyor come do a new plat survey for us, since we didn't have one for our lot and there hadn't been one done recently. We wanted to make sure we knew exactly where our property lines are. (It turns out they were pretty much where we thought they were.)

A couple of weeks later, our landscaper brought me this lovely design.

  The big grey area in center is our house, the smaller grey square, upper left, is the garage. This is looking at our house from the side. The front is actually on the right.

Our landscape architect did some research on Victorian gardens, also and used elements that would reflect a Victorian style. He said he really had fun with it; he doesn't get to do many designs like this.

This is a close up of the back yard. I love how he did a circle patio, with a half-circle pergola. He also made a potting area for me behind the garage! This design pretty much has all the elements that I want (including two gates with arbors over them! woohoo!!) and is really very much like I envisioned how I wanted the yard to look like.
No chain-link fence! No overgrown weigela! No old concrete! A wood privacy fence with two gates! A rose arbor! Patio! Pergola! Lots of flower gardens!

Of course, we can't afford to do ALL of this right now, even though it would be nice to have them come in and do it all!
And, we can change anything about this plan that we want; we are not beholden to the Plan, so to speak.

But, it's fun to dream, and to plan....and to see ideas from my head take form on paper!

For right now, the only part of the landscaping project that we are doing is the retaining wall and the front walkway and front steps because they are in such bad shape. When they demolition the concrete wall, they are also going to be taking the chain-link fence out.

Our landscaper guy is going to price out some of the other areas in the design for us also, just in case we save up enough money that we might be able to have them put in the planting beds in the front that are on the design or extend the ones that I already have in place, maybe yet this year, in the fall.  We'll see!

The stone we chose for the wall is called saw-cut Lannon stone. It comes from a local quarry and takes about two weeks for the quarry to cut it. I think he said we needed 3 tons or something! Yikes!

I'll have more pictures as soon as the project is underway!  Thanks for stopping by~

                                              Above: Yuck.


Sunday, May 20, 2012

Everything's Coming Up Roses....

Well, maybe not everything!

But, one of my climber roses is blooming profusely!

Because this climber rose was already here when we bought the house, we have no idea what kind it is, but from looking at pictures of other climbers, we suspect it might be a "William Baffin". 

This climber was in sad shape when we first bought the house. I pruned it way back and it has grown very much in the last few years. I've been trying to tame it's unruly nature with difficulty. It has wicked-big thorns!

It usually doesn't bloom until June, but with the early spring, it too is starting much earlier this year. I normally will prune it after it blooms the first time and can usually get more blooms throughout the summer until fall.

A few days later and it's exploded.....................

In the "sun garden" by my back porch, my Asiatic lilies are blooming....I have red ones with orange in the middle! When I bought these lilies they were supposed to be all red ones, but I got an orange one by accident I guess.

My other climber rose has many buds on it, but hasn't bloomed yet. Here is a picture of it from last year:
I had to prune this one quite a bit also at the end of summer. This climber rose is also a "mystery rose". It has much smaller leaves than the other one and does not get rose hips like the other. The thorns are small, but very sharp. It has no discernible fragrance and judging by the massive base with multiple, thick canes, it has been here for a number of years.

The flowers on this climber are much smaller than the other and are very "full", with densely packed petals. When they first open, they are this pretty watermelon-pink color, but they seem to be a lighter pink color after they've been open for a few days. I have tried looking online for similar ones in an effort to learn the name of this climbing rose, but have not been successful yet. I think I might have to visit the library and look at some climbing rose books. This climber rose is even more vigorous than the other. 

In the larger picture above, from 2011, you can see some of the trellis that we added the year before, in 2010,which added another six feet for the rose to climb on, but this rose has already covered all of that trellis and is now sending mains and laterals well past the trellis. 

I think soon it will reach past our second-story bedroom windows. I think it means to take over the world!
This climber seems prone to get powdery mildew. Last year I had no issues, but this year, because of the early spring where we had warm days followed by very cool, damp nights, it has a bad case of it again. I've been spraying it with a fungicide, but I may not get as pretty of blooms this year.

Thanks for stopping by!!!
I'll be linking up with The Tablescaper for Seasonal Sundays!
And also to A Southern Daydreamer for Outdoor Wednesday!


Friday, May 18, 2012

Vintage Voice: A Favorite "Movie Kitchen", Part 2

Last spring I did a post about one of my favorite "movie kitchens", click HERE.  In the post I showed numerous screen shots from the 1989 movie, Driving Miss Daisy, which featured a house I have always adored, including the very vintage kitchen that I love.

At the time I had promised to do another post about another favorite "movie kitchen", from another beloved movie of mine, Fried Green Tomatoes.  The 1991 movie is based on Fannie Flagg's popular 1987 novel, Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe, and featured a well-known cast of actresses, including Mary-Louise Parker, Kathy Bates, Jessica Tandy, Cicely Tyson, Mary Stuart Masterson and a young Chris O'Donnell.  I loved the book and the movie also; it was a great story.

 In the book and movie, The Whistle Stop Cafe, opened in the 1920s/1930s by characters Idgie Threadgoode and Ruth Jamison, had all the lovely details of a bygone day that I adore and it has been one of my favorite "movie kitchens" ever since.

In this picture of the interior of the cafe, you can see the high celilings, the beautiful wood floors and the wooden clapboard walls. At the back wall, you can see a pass-through to the kitchen.

In the movie they did a great job "re-creating" Whistle Stop and the cafe. Later, this movie set cafe was actually turned into a real restaurant, and is located near Macon, GA. The inspiration for the Whistle Stop Cafe is actually the Irondale Cafe, located in Irondale, AL. a suburb of Birmingham, where Fannie Flagg grew up.

This is how it actually looks...............

It was difficult to find many pictures of the inside of the cafe and the kitchen.......

Here Ruth and Idgie are playing poker in the cafe. I love Ruth's apron over the back of her chair.

This is just before Ruth and Idgie have a big food fight in the kitchen. It's hot and Idgie is trying to learn to cook fried green tomatoes, but she burns them. What I loved about this kitchen was the big work table and the glass-fronted coolers in the wall behind it. I also spot many wonderful large crocks and bowls in this kitchen!

Right after the food fight, Grady comes in and gets chocolate frosting down his shirt after admonishing the girls for their silliness.

I wasn't able to find many screen shots of the interior of the cafe', so I tried to do a few screen shots from my TV myself....In the cafe kitchen, there are only a few glimpses of these fabulous wood cupboards behind Idgie in this scene.

In this scene below the camera was panning quickly, so it's a little blurry, but  you can pick out all the fabulous tin advertising signs on the wall behind Idgie, and to the far left you can glimpse a wonderful tall coffee urn. One of the things I loved about the cafe were the clear glass cake pedestals with covers that you can see in the foreground, in which there are pies displayed. I have one that looks almost exactly like this one; the minute I saw these in the movie I had to have one for myself! Also slightly visible to the far right are the straw dispensers that were popular in diners for many years. 

In this scene Sispey has set out plates of food on the pass- through from the kitchen while Idgie fills a cup of coffee from that fabulous urn. I love all the fans mounted on the walls!

I loved this scene in which Ruth and Idgie are getting the cafe set up for business. They are dressed in their "working clothes"; bib overalls rolled up to the knee, hair tied up in a scarf. It must have been fun to be a set decorator and stylist on this movie set!

In the earliest scenes of the movie, Ninny (Jessica Tandy) recounts "The Tale of Idgie" to Evelyn (Kathy Bates) and she talks about Leona Threadgoode's wedding, which took place after 'The Great War' (WWI). As she tells the story, we get to see the Threadgoode house.

After the church service, a reception at the Threadgoode house; I loved this scene of the refreshment table laid out with linens, silver and delicious goodies, including the wedding cake. All the ladies are dressed in lovely Edwardian fashions and hats. Here you can also see Sipsey (Cicely Tyson) on the left wearing a fabulous apron with red fruits on it. On the right, Mama Threadgoode (Lois Smith) wears a white fine lawn apron over her dress.

This is where we also meet Ruth Jamison (Mary-Louise Parker) for the first time. I adore her gorgeous summer hat and matching dress.

At the end of the movie, we get to see the Whistle Stop Cafe all closed up and abandoned. There were a great many old advertising signs, chippy and rusty and fabulous, on the front.

Thanks for stopping by and taking a "tour" with me with one of my favorite 'movie kitchens'!!!


Thursday, May 17, 2012

Tablescape Thursday: Anniversary Dinner and Brunch

Just a few weeks ago, my husband Erik and I celebrated our first "big" anniversary; our 5 Year Anniversary!
It was actually on April 27th, and it fell on a Friday this year, just like our wedding day. I put together a special table for dinner for two:

 A chalkboard sign on table that reads "Happy Anniversary!" was a must. Behind it, a bottle of champagne chills in my silver wine bucket.
 I brought out our peacock toasting glasses from the china cabinet. They are pewter and when placed together like this, they form a heart shape! We bought these after we got engaged and they were used at our wedding reception.

I set two places using my good Noritake china (pattern is Knottinghill), and vintage place mats with matching embroidered napkins. The silver plate flatware was an anniversary gift from Erik a few years ago.

This was the bouquet of flowers that Erik brought me, which had to be placed in the center of the table.

Part of our meal included chicken cordon bleu that I made in my crock pot. It was a recipe I found on Pinterest. It was quite yummy!!

For dessert I had picked up a box of dessert truffles from our favorite chocolatier shop.

                                                     Bubbly champagne! Delicious!

Erik's band had a show that Saturday night, so we decided to go to brunch on Sunday morning at our favorite restaurant, Lake Park Bistro. Located in Lake Park is also the Milwaukee Lawn Bowling Club.
 Lake Park Bistro is part of Lake Park and sits on a little bluff. This is the front of the restaurant.

The back side of the restaurant overlooks Lake Drive and Lake Michigan.

I always have the cream of asparagus soup when we go here. It's the most delicious soup in the world!

I chose poached eggs Benedict on top of crab cakes for my entree.

Erik chose the regular eggs Benedict for his entree. Both came with potatoes Dauphinoise, which are delectable, creamy and absolutely delicious! I dream about these potatoes!

 For dessert, Erik chose the Gateaux Chocolat..........

While I had the Gateaux D'Ange with fresh berries.....

Erik made sure to make a reservation for us and asked for a window seat. They put this nice little sign on our table.

Our view from the window at our table; looking down the bluff to Lake Drive below.

 My hubby....the sweetest man on Earth!

After we had brunch, we walked around the park a little.

Lake Drive and Lake Michigan in the background.

Lake Drive is also where all the old mansions are....and lots of newer mansions as well! This one is just one of many along Lake Drive. I love this house! I wish my house had a port-cochere like this one!

 Yes, please! I'll take it!

Delicious detail!

Across the street.......

Side view...........

Can I have this beautiful terrace?

There are lots of houses along Lake Drive, both big and small. I loved this one's gorgeous flower gardens!

Thanks for stopping by!!!
 I'll be joining Susan at Between Naps on the Porch for Tablescape Thursday,
Sherry at the Charm of Home for Home Sweet Home, and Cindy at My Romantic Home for Show and Tell Friday!