Post Christmas Dinner

We had family arriving the day after Christmas.  Everyone was feeling like a bit of food detox would be a great idea so I was hoping to create a beautiful dinner with no butter, no refined flour, no sugar.  Naturally I failed, but came close!  A light soup and salad was perfect for the rainy day.

I was so happy with the table's light and elegant mix of old and new treasures.  A new treasure was the tablecloth.  While I won't dare go to the mall the day after Christmas, I do love shopping in my small downtown where the crowds are more manageable.  I bought two gorgeous tablecloths for half price.  Le Jacquard Francais introduces a new Christmas tablecloth every year, usually in two colorways.  This beautiful tablecloth is 50/50 linen/cotton and a large 69" square which I place on the diagonal.  The pattern is A La Francaise and has ivory and taupe damask peacock feathers, leaping stags and winter bouquets.  It's absolutely gorgeous and goes beautifully with my inherited Lenox Harvest dinnerware from my aunt, mother's Waterford Lismore hock wine glasses gifted to me a few years ago and my own Arte Italica Splendore soup plates.  The table was finished with glittered deer, some low candle light, and grandmother's linen dinner napkins, it's stunning!  For me, setting a table brings up memories of dinners from my childhood tables, both my mother and my aunt set a beautiful table and I am lucky to have some of their things now.

Soup was roasted eggplant puree and roasted tomato puree (both frozen from our summer garden) with a teensy bit of cream, chicken stock and some spices.  I can't share much more of the recipe because I just winged it, but my, it was delicious!  I kept the soup on the buffet in the Arte Italica pewter soup tureen.  I heated it with hot water before I put in the soup and it stayed warm for an hour.

A simple composed salad.

And mini popovers because they are so darn fun. 
 I use Ina's recipe and omit the butter, I always do and it doesn't suffer.

Christmas cookies and candy for dessert.  
I was thinking of fruit, but we couldn't go totally healthy cold turkey!  
It's still December for goodness sake!

Dinner Party Sparkle

Today I'd like to share a beautiful dinner party, 
sparkling with fun conversation with great friends, 
excellent dinner with great cooks and a beautiful table.

This was a last minute decision to have a dinner party, and the excuse?
The house looked so festive, she wanted to share it with good friends!
The best reason for a get together, don't you think?

Round tables are the best for conversation!

I knew you would like to see her lovely mix of
gold and mercury glass, greenery and twinkly candlelight.

For the first course our hostess served curried cauliflower soup topped with 
these beautiful red pepper threads, I'm ordering some right now.
Not only are they gorgeous but had a sharp smokey flavor.  
I can think of many uses!

I'll be seeing you soon with some finished knits, a pullover, a cardigan and a shawl.
All in RED!

Christmas At My House, part 5, The Tree and San Francisco Village

My fifth and last Christmas decorating post and I'm sure I've saved the best for last.  
This year we decided to get a smaller 6 1/2' fake tree and put it on a 54" round table we keep in our living room.  Our large tree usually goes in the corner by the fireplace but we just couldn't bear all the furniture re-arranging that it required.  I love all the Christmas decorating, you know I do, but a simpler version of a Christmas tree is best for this year.   And the best part, there is plenty of room underneath to house our beautiful San Francisco Village.

I love glass ornaments and most of ours are Christopher Radko.
At the top is a signed Radko gingerbread tree, motorcycle riding Santa to the right and a glass cottage below.

This glass Christopher Radko elephant was given to my son by my mother.  It is signed and dated by Radko.

Another Christopher Radko, I love this American Indian!
I've made many ornaments over the years.  I love the Raggedy Ann and Andy, a Bucilla kit from the 80's.

I've made all our dogs a mini needlepoint stocking.  Woody was the dog we got when we first married.

I purchased the village after Christmas in 1986 from an antique mall in Burlingame, a suburb just south of San Francisco.  The salesman told me it was hand made in the 1940's by a man and his daughter brought it in to sell it, very sad she chose not to keep it!  The homes and buildings are replicas of the family's neighborhood in San Francisco, which I think is the Sunset or Richmond district, but I'm not certain.  If anyone could give me a clue I would be grateful.  It once had dozens of churches and public buildings which were individually sold and were long gone by the time I saw it, so sad for me!

The salesman thought this important building was a school, but the only thing I could find that looks remotely like it is the San Francisco Law School.  I doubt it's a church but if yes, possibly St. Peter and Paul's Church or St. Ignatius?  Again, I am stumped and any help would be so appreciated.

I think the bandstand gets it inspiration from the 1905 Bandstand in Golden Gate Park.

The workmanship is perfection.  Tiny elements on every building looks like it was lovingly executed by a lover of detail and artistry.  I feel so lucky to have it, and each December when I take it out, my heart does a little flip flop.  There are some broken bits here and there but I have put repairs off year after year and seem to have put it off for another year!

My tinsel is real metal tinsel from Germany saved year after year.  It's sturdy and shiny!

Irish Coffee

A cozy winter FO to share at last, finished a month ago and today finally have pictures.
Irish Coffee by Thea Colman in Berroco Blackstone Tweed.
Wonderful and well written pattern plus great yarn,
a tweedy blend of wool, mohair and angora.

The pattern calls for short sleeves and think this would be great
in a summer cotton yarn with the shorter sleeves.

In these pictures I'm wearing mother's Christmas tree brooch.  
Together we have a great collection and 
over the years she has gifted most of hers to me.
Starting December 1st, I wear one everyday!

The brooch on the far right is mother's and was given to me on Sunday at church.
Very special!  She remembers getting it at Geary's in Beverly Hills in the 80's
The tree to the left of that is also mother's, a signed Kramer from the 70's.
The green pin below it with 5 candles is a signed Weiss from the 40's.
The others are dime store varieties that are fun to wear too!

This week I had to remind myself to slow down and enjoy the season.
I started to feel squeezed for time and decided to remove some of the
self imposed work that was spoiling my Christmas fun.  
As I let go of things I felt the squeeze disappear 
and later had to laugh at the extraneous minutiae that I had been holding on to!
 I hope you are enjoying this beautiful time of year!

xoxo Kristen

Oxblood Red

Having fun choosing paint colors for my son's former bedroom, long overdue for an overhall.  Loving the new trend of oxblood and have all three of these on the wall right now, trying to decide.

Belgian Pearls
Belgian Pearls
Here's my Pinterest color inspiration board.  I've been having a blast!

PS, my tree is done, just trying to get pictures I like even a little!

Christmas At Our House, Part 4, The Angel Orchestra

 I adore this Wendth and Kuhn Angel Orchestra
with tiered stand, fence, trees and snow.
 I love these little guys!

The picket fence is a flea market find.

Notice the pigtails!

Wendt and Kuhn, the German company responsible for making these painted wood darlings
are perhaps best know for their angel orchestra.  I'm sure they've made 100 different orchestra
members over the years and are highly collectable.
They are instantly recognizable by their green spotted angel wings.

The Wendt and Kuhn website is enchanting.

The family room mantel holds our needlepoint stockings made by me
a long ago time, before I completely got addicted to knitting.
 You can see the post about them here.

Next time, the tree and the San Francisco Village.