Saturday, December 1, 2018

Tales of the Traveling Totes #17

Hello, armchair travelers!  Thanks for joining another adventure recap - this being #17 - of the Traveling Totes. If you're new here and you'd like to read the background of how this group got started, you can find it at this link. My personal tales with Miss Luna C and Miss Charley C can be found here. Be sure to read to the end of this post for another great giveaway. It's a distant cousin to our tote clan!

These past few months have been all about shopping and getting out locally, the most recent being some cyber Monday shopping at our Town Center Mall. Of course, one must get into the holiday spirit to shop holiday gifts where the town center is all decorated in holiday style, right??
Let's back track now, and recap other outings with Miss Charley C and Miss Luna C. Early October is always one of Clinique's gift with purchase events, and Pam took care of me and Miss Charley C at my local Macy's.
Out and about almost every day, Mr. P.'s twelve year old Lexus finally turned 100,000 miles in mid-October. Miss Charley C had to document the event or else it didn't happen.
Miss Charley C met the FestivALL Princess at the Harvest Art Fair in late October. This fall event is part of our city's bringing arts groups together in various venues.
The harvest art fair showcases many artisans selling their wares, and it's a great way to support small businesses. Miss Charley C and I showed our support.
What's one of the best comfort foods around? Macaroni and cheese, of course! Miss Charley C and I met up with daughter #1 and her husband to check out all the competitors in the annual Macaroni and Cheese Cook Off the first weekend of November at our outdoor Capitol Market
This event, held at our year-round indoor/outdoor farmers' market in a renovated train station, was packed! The mac and cheese combination choices ranged from classic cheeses to sweet (white chocolate) to savory (bacon, caramelized onions and mushrooms) to spicy (buffalo chicken or pork). Miss Charley C and I were nearly in a state of carb comatose after tasting so many. And beer was on tap too, so you can imagine the atmosphere.
By late November, Miss Luna C started getting into the swing of local stops and visits with me. As the holiday season approaches, toting holiday purchases and gifts in the bigger bag is a no brainer! On this particular day, we met up with a friend from high school for breakfast. My friend will be having surgery in early December and I delivered some vintage jewelry for her to craft with while she recovers.
As for me and my totes, we are now spending time readying for the holidays, as so many of you are. Miss Luna C may very well end up being part of the decor this year to store throws and pillows. It's always fun to pull out the decor, especially the ornaments, so full of past memories. I also always look forward to bringing out new ornaments purchased or received in the prior year and not yet used. This year I've pulled out the ornaments below, all from MacKenzie-Childs' 2017 after-Christmas clearance sale. They're already hung on the tree. Cheers to all your holiday prep!
The Traveling Totes Tribe is offering another giveaway. Jackie @ Purple Chocolat Home is our giveaway sponsor this time. One lucky reader who leaves a comment on Jackie's December 1 post will have their name thrown into the hat for an opportunity to win the following MacKenzie-Childs canvas tote bag! Hurry over now!
Where have all the other Traveling Tote tribe members been this fall? Check them out at the links conveniently located below to see. We welcome Cherry Kay from the blog Entertaining Women as our newest member of the tribe, and hope you'll visit her and show her some love. Our tribe members have been rather fluid in 2017, but it's always fun when we come together, no matter the mix.

Debbie with Miss Aurora @ Mountain Breaths
Emily with Miss Courtney Childs@ The French Hutch
Patti with Miss Kenzie and Miss Taylor @ Pandora's Box
Jenna with Miss Coquille @ The Painted Apron
Linda P with Miss Lola @ Life and Linda
Rita with Miss Luna C @ Panoply (you are here!)
Sarah with Miss Merri Mac @ Hyacinths for the Soul
Jackie with Miss Madi K @ Purple Chocolat Home
Ricki Jill with Countess de Monet @ The Sketchy Reader
Cherry Kay with Miss Carrie Ann Hall @ Entertaining Women

Thanks for traveling along on our adventures. Hope to see you on our next adventure recap, March 1, 2019. Don't forget to leave a comment on Jackie's blog!
Rita C. at Panoply

Monday, November 26, 2018

Christmas Tablescapes: A Look Back

It's always fun to look back on how decorations evolve over the years, and looking at my tablescapes is just as fun. I like using my collection of dishes, and the holidays are a great time to bring them out, mix them up, and create tables with different looks. Here's a look back over the past five years or so of holiday tables of mine.

Oh Deer! Christmas Tablescape
I hope you'll join me the week of December 10th when I share my variation on the Christmas 2018 tablescape theme, along with a bevy of other stylists. Chloe Crabtree of Celebrate and Decorate will be hosting the party.
Thanks for stopping by today!
Rita C. at Panoply

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Pheasant Merriment Thanksgiving

Fall is very focused on harvest, saturated color and warm layers, and all of these were part of my vision in preparing my Pheasant Merriment Thanksgiving tablescape I'm sharing with you today.
If you're new to my blog, I welcome you to join me, along with several other bloggers this week, all organized by the ever-gracious Chloe Crabtree from the blog Celebrate and Decorate. We are bringing you ideas just in time for gathering friends and family for Thanksgiving, "Friends"giving, or any fall-themed occasion. A complete list of bloggers participating is conveniently located at the end of this post, which links to their tables featured each day.
I am an antiques dealer who loves using tableware collected over the years, but I also enjoy adding new elements when creating tablescapes. Gathering items throughout my home, a fabric sent to me from my blog friend Patti was definitely my base choice for the table since it was perfectly sized for a tablecloth. I admire it for its duality in appearance: rich and faded, simultaneously, just as fall leaves appear on trees and scattered on the ground. As a landscape gardener, I next gathered remnants of dried hydrangea blooms and magnolia trimmings from my own yard. Cotton boll stems and little lights were mingled together with apples and pears as garnish, and the table centerpiece was complete.
My plate service begins with Lenox "Merriment" temperware from the 1970s, set on dark brown - almost black - chargers with a plank edge. Mixed metals are evident in the bronze twig flatware, while napkin rings are goldtone. Antique butter knives have handles of mother-of-pearl with sterling cuffs. Clear stemware hints at frosty mornings, just beginning to occur in our region this time of year.
Layered onto the Merriment dinner and salad plates are the classic Spode "Woodland" bowls with pheasant design on each. Napkins are also layered - sand and wine red - cotton, with hemstitch edging.
Anytime is a good time to use my vintage and antique transferware, but fall is an especially suitable time to bring out the browns, which is most of what my transferware collection is. The lidded soup tureen below was purchased from a fellow dealer at our antique mall. The ladle within was an estate sale purchase many years ago.
The covered vegetable dish was also purchased at an estate sale.
The table is set for easy conversation over the low profile of the centerpiece. Items both old and new are mixed on the table, a style I embrace fully as an avid collector and antiques dealer. I also enjoy mixing high- and low-end elements - including items scavenged from nature - to bring a homey feel to the table.
Colors on the table, all mixed and varied, are complementary of fall's spectrum, ranging from deep rose to red to rust, creams to sand to browns, gold, bronze and silver, and various shades of green.
The table, while rich in color, glows with the tiny lights. The company and food shared around the table will only make it richer and brighter.
Whether you're hosting Thanksgiving or any other late fall dinners - large or small - I hope you've been inspired with even one idea as a takeaway from my tablescape today. For plenty more inspiration, please see the complete list of bloggers participating in this gathering below, and links to their tables of Thanksgiving. Each day new bloggers are featured. My appreciation goes out to Chloe Crabtree for organizing this event!





Tablescapes are but one subject I love exploring on my blog, and you can find other topics on the main menu at the header of my blog. If you're on a mobile or handheld device, just scroll to the bottom of your page and click on web version to see the menu. You may also search topics with keywords, or by labels, both options located on the sidebar of my web page. 
Pheasant Merriment Source List
Lenox Merriment Temperware, Glassware - Vintage Personal Collections (Merriment available through Replacements, Ltd
Spode Woodland Pheasant Bowls - TJ Maxx
Brown Transferware, Silver ladle, Butter knives - Estate and Antique store purchases
Flatware, Chargers, Napkins, Napkin Rings - Pier 1 
Table Fabric (Covington Jaipur Kohl) - gift, Patti of Pandora's Box

Feel free to leave your comments so I'll know you stopped by. Interaction with readers is one of the things I value most in blogging. Thank you for your visit today. Happy Thanksgiving!
Rita C. at Panoply

Sharing: Pieced Pastimes, Best of the Weekend, Amaze Me, DIDIBNOTP, Inspire MeMake it PrettyThe ScoopCelebrate Your Story,SYS, Delightsome Life H&GGrace at Home, Vintage Charm

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Before, After Putting the Garden to Bed

My Zone 7a garden has been put to bed for winter. I have many before and after photos that show one season's growth rate and how it's all pruned and ready for next year's cycle. The before photos are how the garden looked either late September or early October. The fall cleanup began mid-October after our first freeze warning, and was completed (intermittently) over two weeks. 

I'll start with something pretty in the current state of the fall/winter garden, and that's my pansies planted in early October. These replace my summer annuals, give a fresh look now, and winter over to early spring.
A before and after look of the front flower beds is shown next. Notice all the liriope has been buzz cut for winter.
Before and after of the front corner of the landscape pictured below can also be seen in the background in the above collage photo. The little green fans surrounding the concrete pedestal were daylilies received as a giveaway from Mary's blog, planted the first of October. The more noticeable contrast is the snowflake viburnum against the fence (background) are cut back about two feet.  So were the nandina (heavenly bamboo) to the left of the viburnum (not pictured). Again, the liriope is buzzed.
Before and after of the knockout roses in the front landscape beds (below).
Before and after in the courtyard: containers were emptied and cleaned, and the cantilever umbrella (shadow in lower frame) is covered for the winter.
Lavender (and climbing roses) are cut back for winter. They are sheltered in this brick enclosed courtyard.
Back in the main landscape - the west wall - before and after is seen below. Zinnias, salvia, sedum, stray black-eyed Susans and coneflowers all cut down to the ground in most cases (also four o'clocks further right, out of frame).
Here's a before and after view of the eastern landscape wall, standing on the south end, looking north. Big changes: spirea, dwarf butterfly bushes were both hard pruned, Mexican sunflowers and hyacinth bean vine on trellis ripped out (annuals), and knockout roses against wall were pruned.
Below is probably the biggest contrast in before and after: a comparison of the south end of the landscape.
The Otto Luykens are cut back all around.
The western corner perennial hibiscus are cut to the ground, as are the hostas. The hydrangeas got a hard pruning. Only three in the bed and last hard pruned in 2015, they were overgrown. It is likely I will not see blooms next year as a result (next year's buds are mostly on old wood that was cut), but it was due.
A before and after view of the center back area. Again, hydrangeas (including my limelight) were pruned hard, hostas cut to the ground. 
Before and after of the wildest, southeastern corner of the landscape: the tree variety butterfly bushes and spirea are pruned, as are the hostas. You can now see the other two season cherub statues again, as well as another group of Otto Luykens in the back corner.
Cleaning up our landscape takes about 40 man hours, but it makes spring so much easier. I have a longtime gardener friend who helps me in the majority of this effort, but I am right there with him. There was so much debris, and most of it was composted (three trailers full), but several bags (mostly containers and lavender from courtyard) were recycled by the city. Stakes and tools were cleaned, hose carts covered, and all outside water valves were turned off.
If you recall in this post, we had some pretty major summer storm damage to trees on our two riverbank lots across the street from our home. 

Tree removal work began in July, and just ended October 31 due to so many rain delays (river rising and ground saturation). See the diagram below for before and after of the six trees removed.
The remaining trees were limbed up for a clean look after. The trees with undergrowth on the left are the neighbor's.
We also had our magnolia pruned, but it remains incomplete as of this writing. The before and after as it currently looks is below. Our objective is to take the tree away from the gutter and prune about three feet shorter. Remember, we had a growth inhibitor injected earlier in summer to retard future growth.

A couple shots of my last flower bouquets of the season.
The hydrangeas are still full, thanks to dipping them in alum, a great tip I learned from Mary a few years ago.
I ditched the fern and bought a pumpkin for the front porch, and used some magnolia branches to trim it out.
The landscape before and after, standing on the southern end, looking north.
Now all I have to do is rake the leaves from the maple at the utility pole, the Japanese maple and the Kousa dogwoods. Oh yea, and the riverbank sassafras and maple.
I love my garden in all its seasons, even when it's sheared for winter. It's cleared and cleaned, with enough plants for winter interest, and all ready for next spring's growth cycle. If you're not sure of your own agricultural cold hardiness, you can check this USDA map and find yours for optimal gardening. How are your garden cleanup efforts going? Do you do your work in fall or spring? There are advantages / disadvantages to both. I'd love to hear your feedback.

Thanks for your visit today!

Rita C. at Panoply