Catch Up On Popular Posts

26 September, 2010

New Orleans Favorites: Part One

Pin It!
IMG_3303 I have just returned from a visit to one of my favorite places…New Orleans! The trip was in celebration of a special occasion that I will reveal in a few moments. If you have never been, you owe it to yourself to head on down to the Big Easy to spend a few days! I’ll bet you can guess why I love it so much….yes, it’s so very French Creole! It really feels like you have traveled to another country…another place and time! This is my third trip there and I certainly am not an expert, but I would like to share with you some of my favorite things to do in case you ever have a chance to go!


pageFirst and foremost, I think it is a good idea to stay in the French Quarter. If you do, you can ditch your car for the duration of your visit. You don’t have to stay in an expensive hotel. This was our first time at the Place d’Armes Hotel and I will go back (and they aren’t paying me to say that! lol) It is literally steps from Jackson Square, the heart of the French Quarter or Vieux Carré as some still call it. That’s our room on the second floor with the balcony overlooking the courtyard! You can hear the bells of St. Louis Cathedral as they ring their morning greeting at 7:30 am and as they say good evening at 6:00 pm….ahhhhh!


IMG_3297 Doesn’t this just look like a postcard? Here is Jackson Square with a view of the cathedral in the background…gorgeous! That’s Andrew Jackson on his horse…the hero of the Battle of New Orleans. (If you are old like me, a song starts up in your brain…♪♪ In 1814, we took a little trip...Along with Colonel Jackson down the mighty Mississip ♪♪) lol  Be sure to head out early before all of the other tourists are out and about to really enjoy the atmosphere! And speaking of atmosphere…it is hot and humid there…very tropical, in fact…but in September, the rates have not gone up yet and I don’t honestly think waiting a week or two until October makes that much difference! I just told myself that the humidity was good for my skin! lol


IMG_3289 Cross the street at Jackson Square and head over to the Café du Monde, a French Quarter icon, for some wonderful beignets…French donuts…and café au lait made with their world famous chicory coffee! The menu is limited and the place is usually packed all day long. I love to sit in the outdoor section and people watch. Don’t be surprised if a street musician provides some music to munch by! Our guitarist played a wonderful selection of Beatles songs! Just a hint…don’t wear black unless you want to wear a powdered sugar badge all day long! lol


page1 We took the tour of St. Louis Cemetery #1 (there are several)…the oldest cemetery in New Orleans.  Of course, it came with its own resident black cat! Be sure to go with a guide because it’s not in the best part of town. Ours was very knowledgeable and interesting, so it was well worth the price. She told us that the French built the tombs above ground, not because of the high water table…although it’s a help in this city…but because the first tombs were based on the crypts at Père-Lachaise Cemetery in Paris! Interesting! Of course, many come here to see the tomb of the voodoo queen Marie Laveau…


IMG_3232 …but here’s the one I came to see! Do you know whose it is? Hint…it’s still unoccupied! Have you guessed? It’s the tomb of Nicolas Cage! lol Yes, he had this tomb built and a small section of the cemetery restored for himself! I am sure this is as close as I will ever get, although our guide said she saw him twice last week, as did our waiter at Arnaud’s! Too bad we were late!


748 Be sure to ride the historic streetcars that run through the oldest parts of the city! You can get an all day pass for $5 and see the sights outside of the French Quarter. A must-do is a ride on the St. Charles streetcars that run through the beautiful Garden District, where the English-speaking newcomers settled.


page1 We got off at the Washington Street stop and turned left, past gorgeous old Greek revival mansions and wonderful gingerbread shotgun houses (so named because you could shoot a gun straight through the whole house) and headed towards…


page2Commander’s Palace! They offer a less expensive menu during lunch hours, but be forewarned…no shorts! I had their version of tomato soup and grilled cheese…a fabulous crab and pepper jack cheese sandwich served with smoked tomato bisque…the best I’ve ever had! My traveling buddy and good friend Nan had the Caribbean shrimp salad served in a coconut shell. You cannot leave without having their world famous bread pudding soufflé with whiskey sauce…yummy!


IMG_3512 Want to connect with old New Orleans and  see the interiors of some wonderful old homes?  Start with the Beauregard-Keyes House! It was the temporary residence of Confederate General P.G.T. Beauregard in the 1860s and then, in the 1940s, the home of the novelist Frances Parkinson Keyes. Here is the stately 19th century mansion as it appears today and…


771px-BeauregardHouseChartresDown1900s …here it is the way it looked in the early 1900s. In fact, most of the French Quarter had fallen into ruin and was a low-rent district housing many of the Italian immigrants who had come to New Orleans seeking work. Only in the 1960s was it declared a National Historic Landmark to ensure that the wonderful old buildings would be preserved. Quite a transformation, isn’t it?


page1 A peek inside the home reveals rooms full of wonderful antiques, many of which were donated by both the Beauregard and Keyes families, including many personal items.


page2 Be sure to take a walk around the grounds to see the  lovely walled garden, visible from the street through a wrought iron gate, as well as a beautiful old courtyard with views from both the mansion and the servants’ quarters.


page If you have managed to walk enough to build up an appetite, how about dinner at Galatoire’s? (Please note that I have compressed several days into one. There is no way to eat this much food in one day! lol) Here you may not make reservations for the downstairs dining room and must line up on Bourbon Street to get in….but it’s so worth the wait! I had their wonderful shrimp rémoulade, followed by eggplant stuffed with crab and shrimp…heavenly! And you may have guessed by now that I was celebrating a special occasion…my 60th birthday!…with a candle atop their yummy crème caramel!


IMG_3281 Of course, in New Orleans, you must top off the evening at least once with a stop at a jazz/R&B club! We were fortunate enough to go to Snug Harbor to hear Charmaine Neville, niece of Aaron Neville and a real talent in her own right. What fun! The club is rightly named, since it is an intimate setting and several times during the evening, members of her family and her neighbors dropped in to join in the show!

I am making myself stop here and will continue next time with more about my trip to New Orleans! I hope you will join me as I continue to eat my way across the French Quarter in this city full of friendly people, fabulous music and wonderful sights! (Click here to continue my tour!)

Thanks for stopping by! I hope you enjoyed my little tour!  Please visit these wonderful bloggers and their beautiful blogs to see what they are up to and to find a list of this week’s participants!
Susan at Between Naps on the Porch for Metamorphosis Monday
Mary at Little Red House for Mosaic Monday
Susan at A Southern Daydreamer for Outdoor Wednesday
Michael Lee at Designs by Gollum for Foodie Friday
Claudia at Dipity Road for Friday Finding Beauty
Laurie at Bargain Hunting and Chatting with Laurie for A Few of My Favorite Things Saturday
See you next time! A la prochaine! Pin It!

17 September, 2010

They're Baaack!...Ginger Lilies and Hummingbird Moths!

Pin It!
IMG_1521 I am sooo excited! My favorite time of year has arrived! How do I know? My ginger lilies are blooming! That heavenly scent is filling my garden once again and will continue until the first frost. Aren’t they beautiful? I have shown them to you before, I think, but they are so lovely that I want to share them again! I only wish I had a scratch and sniff blog so you could smell them, too! Ahhhh!


oz Even our usually grumpy CEO Ozzie seems to be enjoying the garden, although she seems unimpressed by the ginger lilies. I think this is her favorite time of year, too! The days are still warm, but the evenings are getting cooler.


IMG_1522 So when I begin to see the first blooms on my ginger lilies, I know that those wonderful crisp autumn days are not far behind! The lilies are special to me for another reason…they came from my mom’s yard. When we were faced with the sad duty of cleaning out her house and putting it up for sale, I decided to dig up the lilies and bring them to live at my house...and they have thrived here ever since. But they had a big surprise in store for me!


hummingbird moth I will never forget the first time I saw them! It was dusk and I saw what appeared to be hummingbirds at the lilies. But when I looked closer, I realized they were actually moths…unrolling their long feeding tubes and inserting them into the flowers! Can you see the tube? I am super proud of myself because tonight I finally managed to get a decent photo! I’ve been trying for several years! lol Here is a hummingbird moth feeding at my ginger lilies.

(Please scroll to the bottom of the blog and pause the music player before watching the video. It has its own music!)
I also found an amazing video of these moths, also known as the sphinx moth, feeding among their favorite flowers... ginger lilies, of course! Although I didn’t make the video, this is what I saw in my garden this evening as the first moths came to visit!  I am still smiling! I hope you will take the time to watch. I promise that you will not be sorry! I have turned off my music on this post so as not to interfere with the video. Now if I could only add the fragrance of the flowers!

Thanks for stopping by! I hope you enjoyed a little peek at my garden!  Please visit these wonderful bloggers and their beautiful blogs to see what they are up to and to find a list of this week’s participants!
Susan at A Southern Daydreamer for Outdoor Wednesday
Cindy at My Romantic Home for Show and Tell Friday
Laurie at Bargain Hunting and Chatting with Laurie for A Few of My Favorite Things Saturday
See you next time! A la prochaine! Pin It!

12 September, 2010

My Parisian Bedroom Reveal...Before and After!

Pin It!
IMG_3132If you have been following along for the last few weeks, you know I have been working on my master bedroom redo. I wanted a softer, more elegant feel with a little Parisian touch. And it’s finally finished…for now!


page3 I have been adding lots of little details, including old Victorian silver plate finds, shabby Parisian-style candlesticks and  two fabulously frenchy flea market chairs that got a revamp!


IMG_3143 This week I have been concentrating on bedding. My goal was to add pillows to match the toile drapes…and…to finish them with piping! I spent very little money on this part of my project. The down inserts came from Goodwill at about $3.00 each and the pillows are made from remnants of the drapes.


page2Adding piping is not as difficult as I thought and I have to say that I am really surprised! All these years, I have been avoiding making it because I thought it was hard…but it’s not! The secret is to use the zipper foot the whole time. Of course, a good fabric to use with toile is ticking…and I have worlds of that on hand, as you will see.


IMG_3087 Here is Kitty posing as a throw pillow! She's doing a fabulous job, isn't she? lol But while we are here, let me show you my Battenberg lace shams. I found them at a thrift shop for only $6.00 for the pair! I had almost decided to purchase some online at $40 on sale when I found these! Whew! Also, notice the delicate pink  toile design on the quilt.


IMG_3112I love it, especially since I didn’t have to buy a new one! This is the reverse side of my old quilt! Isn’t it so much more frenchy?


IMG_3100 And do you see what I have hanging over my bed…plates, of course! I also have them over my antique plantation desk in red transferware, but I wanted something more subtle here, so I chose creamy white. Most of them are vintage Wedgwood, but take a look at the one in the center.


page4 It came from Goodwill and, since it was senior day, I only paid just over $2.00! There was only one problem…it was white, not cream. Sooo…I sprayed it with Krylon satin in ivory and a final coat with Krylon clear glaze. Now it matches the rest of the plates!


page The little architectural feature over the windows also got a coat of white.  Now it looks so fresh and clean! I shabbied it just a very little bit to age it. I am not much of a cherub person, but I like the interest it adds to the window.


IMG_3136 Did you notice the matelasse coverlet at the end of the bed? It also came from Goodwill for just $7.00! But I still think my favorite find is my frenchy lamp on the bedside table.

Across the room on the tall chest, a vignette is in the works. This is where I have decided to embrace the gold of my frenchy lamp’s baby brother. I am adding heavy gold frames, books wrapped in toile paper and tied with jute twine, a red transferware platter, my frenchy candlesticks and a clock.


IMG_3153 Isabella says…Don’t forget! You promised to show before and after photos! Oh, yes…she’s right! I did! Sooo…here they are…


IMG_1793 Here it is before. I built the room around the antique quilt you see at the foot of the bed. It was made by my great-grandmother when she was 16 years old. I love it! Only one problem…you can’t leave a 150 year old quilt out with my staff around! And, although I love my Louis Philippe sleigh bed, it is very dark and can be almost masculine.


IMG_3100 Here’s the after! I have raised the drapery panels to 12 inches above the window and added lots of lighter fabrics and touches of white. I may change the mirror over the desk to a frenchier one also in white. What do you think?


IMG_1780 Here’s the before from another angle. There is simply nothing frenchy about this room! It never felt like me! The old  framed botanicals were my grandmother's and I love them, but they are just too dark. Take a good look at those drapes. Have you seen them before?


IMG_3143 They are the piping on my ticking and toile pillows! I have lots of it left, so don’t stand here too long! I may add piping to whatever you are wearing! It’s my new thing! lol


IMG_3132 And here’s one final look at the after. I just think the whole room has a much more feminine look. I call it Parisian because it feels like I am in a little apartment on Ile Saint Louis, smack dab in the middle of Paris! However, I will be shocked if I decide to walk to the boulangerie to buy  a baguette! lol Oh well…I can pretend, can’t I?

Thanks for stopping by! I hope you enjoyed a little peek at my finds!  Please visit these wonderful bloggers and their beautiful blogs to see what they are up to and to find a list of this week’s participants!
Susan at Between Naps on the Porch for Metamorphosis Monday
Rhoda at Southern Hospitality for Today’s Thrifty Treasures
Marty at A Stroll Thru Life for Tabletop Tuesday
Linda at Coastal Charm for Nifty Thrifty Tuesday
Kathleen at Faded Charm for White Wednesday
Gina at The Shabby Chic Cottage for Transformation Thursday
Cindy at My Romantic Home for Show and Tell Friday
Artie at Color Outside the Lines for Vignette Fridays
Laurie at Bargain Hunting and Chatting with Laurie for A Few of My Favorite Things Saturday
See you next time! A la prochaine! Pin It!

04 September, 2010

Lamp-a-Palooza!...and...A Decor Question

Pin It!
IMG_3045 It seems almost every week my thrifting finds revolve around a theme and this week it is lamps…or lamp shades! I am not sure how that happens…maybe I am in the market for a certain item or people give away items in spells. In any case, this lamp has been in need of a new shade for a while, so I was excited to find this fabric shade with a lovely rectangular shape at Goodwill for only $4.00! Woo hoo!


IMG_3042 I think it really brightens up this corner of my living room! The previous one was about the same color as my painted chest and really didn’t stand out at all. I have been trying to add some white where I can, and I think this one fills the bill! In fact, I seem to be switching all of my shades to white....classic, more traditional.


IMG_3028 I have also been on the hunt for a buffet lamp, but they were all either too tall and thin or too short. When I found this one at my favorite flea/antique market for $9.00, I knew it would be just right! Only two problems…it’s the wrong color and I don’t like the shade! Sooo…


IMG_3037 …I sprayed it oil rubbed bronze and added a brand new shade...in white, of course...that I found at the thrift store for $3.00 and voilà! I had to have a neutral lamp since this buffet is where I usually display my favorite pieces of old silver plate, like my roll-top butter dish and my vintage castor set, so a gold lamp would just not do! The wonderful engraved tray in the background was a gift from my French Club many years ago.


IMG_2936_1 But perhaps my favorite find this week is this one…the little brother of my new love…my frenchy lamp! I put them side by side on the floor so you can get a good look at them! The one on the left came from my favorite flea/antique market and the one on the right came from my favorite junk store! ( Maybe I should spell that junque! lol) It was peering down at me from the upper shelves, hidden among all the chaos! I couldn’t believe it! Can you see that it is the same parts, just put together differently? And…it was only $18.00! Woo hoo!


IMG_3054 I actually considered painting it, but with help from a new shade and finial at half price, I think I am going to embrace the gold. I think gold can be very Parisian, don’t you? Here, I have swapped shades. What do you think? The oval or the Asian style on little mister goldie? He will also go in my master bedroom on a taller chest on the opposite side of the room.


IMG_3026 Baby Kitty says that if I don’t watch out, I will have to rename my blog Confessions of a Lamp Addict! lol


page1 While I am on the subject of my master bedroom redo, I’d like to show you some subtle changes in my frenchy chair. Can you spot them? First, I found a wonderful new pillow in a Napoleonic bee pattern with a down insert…for only $5.00 at Goodwill! Can you believe somebody gave that  away? And…I added piping to the edge of the chair cushion. I think it looks so much more finished. 


page And finally, my question! I was so excited when the latest issue of Meredith Publications Country French appeared on the newsstands this week! This makes issue number six by my count. It is a wonderful soft cover book filled to the brim with beautiful pictures and a real steal at $10.00! I use them as my go-to books when I have a decorating dilemma. However, in this issue I noticed something different in some of the photos…where’s the stuff? Is Country French style going minimalist?


IMG_3037 Now I have long been a fan of my main man, Charles Faudree, who decorates by the credo Too much is never enough! Not that I always go overboard, but I do love to layer! I am afraid that I will not go down the minimalist road if that’s the case! Have you noticed a trend in that direction? Tell me what you think!

Thanks for stopping by! I hope you enjoyed a little peek at my finds!  Please visit these wonderful bloggers and their beautiful blogs to see what they are up to and to find a list of this week’s participants!
Susan at Between Naps on the Porch for Metamorphosis Monday
Rhoda at Southern Hospitality for Today’s Thrifty Treasures
Marty at A Stroll Thru Life for Tabletop Tuesday
Linda at Coastal Charm for Nifty Thrifty Tuesday
Kathleen at Faded Charm for White Wednesday
Gina at The Shabby Chic Cottage for Transformation Thursday
Cindy at My Romantic Home for Show and Tell Friday
Artie at Color Outside the Lines for Vignette Fridays
Laurie at Bargain Hunting and Chatting with Laurie for A Few of My Favorite Things Saturday
See you next time! A la prochaine! Pin It!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...