Monday, November 30, 2009

25 Days of Christmas Beauty...

Greetings, all! Just a note to remind you that starting tomorrow, I will be posting a little holiday beauty each day through Christmas. Think of it as an easy way to enjoy the holidays, one that requires nothing more than a click of the mouse; it's a mini-break from shopping and running around like a headless chicken. There will be no lengthy reads, no to-do lists - just beautiful images each day that capture the many pleasures of the season. I may even throw in a favorite holiday recipe or two. I hope you will stop by regularly and soak up a little beauty of the season.
Merry Christmas!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Pink Saturday... Let the Christmas season begin!

Photo credit: ursonate via flickr

It's the first Saturday of the Christmas season and I couldn't resist sharing some pink holiday inspiration. I love pink, silver, cream and gold together - it's such a lovely color combination for creating a little holiday beauty.
Starting Dec. 1, I hope you will follow along for my 25 Days of Christmas Beauty. There is so much beauty to be found this time of year, and much of it in the simplest things. I think you'll enjoy what I have lined up.
As always, thanks to our lovely hostess, Beverly, for this weekly event. Be sure to stop by How Sweet the Sound for a complete list of participating blogs. Happy Pink Saturday!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

Wishing all of you a wonderful holiday, filled with beauty, love and lots of delicious food. May you and your family know only peace and plenty in the coming year.
Happy Thanksgiving.

~ Bella

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Tuesday brightener... Turkey dinnerware

Photo credit: Gridley & Graves

As anyone who has read my blog for any length of time knows, I love dishes. Unabashedly. With Thanksgiving this week, I couldn't resist sharing some turkey dinnerware I've been mooning over. A set of turkey dishes is one of those things on my wish list - it's pretty far down, though, because let's face it, you can really only use dishes with a turkey on them on Thanksgiving.
Still, one day I hope to set my Thanksgiving table with something as beautifully traditional as these. Do any of you have any special Thanksgiving dishes? I'd love to hear about them if you do.
Wishing you a bright and happy Tuesday...

Photo credit: Pottery Barn

Spode china above and below

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Set a beautiful table this Thanksgiving...

Photo credit: Tria Giovan/Country Living

Photo credit: Better Homes and Gardens

Thanksgiving is all about the food, I know: turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, gravy, cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie...
But all that delicious food deserves to be served in a beautiful way. With so many other things to attend to in the kitchen on the actual day, setting the table is one of those tasks you can knock out the day before. It also allows you time to really make it pretty. Pull out those special dishes, use a new or vintage tablecloth, or set the table with lovely taper candles. If you usually set a monochrome table, think about mixing in some lovely fall color. Consider linen napkins instead of paper, goblets instead of tumblers to instantly add elegance. And don't forget a centerpiece (see previous post for some ideas).
A beautiful table doesn't have to cost anything other than effort. And on a day made for giving thanks, offering a little beauty for all the senses seems an appropriate way to show your loved ones how much you care.

Photo credit: Tria Giovan/Country Living

Friday, November 20, 2009

The beauty of holiday table centerpieces...

Photo credit: Gridley & Graves

Part of setting a beautiful table is a centerpiece appropriate to the occasion. With Thanksgiving just around the corner, I went looking for inspiration. I love the bold beauty and elegance of the flowers above - not to mention the colors would easily take you into the Christmas season for that period of transitional decorating. The same can be said for the lovely gilded pear centerpiece below. (If you are interested in creating the pear centerpiece, click here for the how-to.)

Photos above and below from

For a simple but still pretty centerpiece, consider filling a dish with little pumpkins or gourds and some nuts. It's a perfect look for the traditional Thanksgiving table. The smaller flower centerpiece below is accentuated by a gourd or two and some lovely candlesticks, always a classic choice.
I know the food is the main attraction at Thanksgiving, but presenting a lovely table will only make your guests appreciate the whole dinner even more. Something to keep in mind...

Photo credit: Steven Randazzo

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Tuesday brightener... Tainted Ladies

All images copyright Anne Taintor.

Beauty with a sense of humor - an irresistible combination, I always think. If you haven't yet discovered Anne Taintor's work, you should really check it out. My friends and I have enjoyed it for several years. Her calendar is required giving each Christmas, in fact.
I pulled just a few of her designs to give you a taste, but I highly recommend you check out her Web site - - because it will seriously brighten your day, week, year. The women featured in her designs are real models, from pictures taken many years ago. Some of the original models are now featured on her site (click on Taintorette News). She has everything from compacts to bags to cards featuring these fabulous women and her take on what they're really thinking.
Wishing you beauty and humor this week...

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Pink Saturday... It's true love

Photo credit: Vogue Living

A couple years ago I came across this love seat in an issue of Vogue Living and fell in love. Not just, "Oh, wouldn't it be nice to have that..." love, but full-on coveting. When I re-do my living room, this piece (or something very similar) will definitely be included. It will look fabulous with the toile wallpaper I'm planning, don't you think? I know a pink love seat is a bit much for a lot of people, but it's perfect for me. I smile every time I see the picture, and I know I'll smile even more having it in my home. That's really the whole point of embracing what you feel is beautiful - it tends to bring you happiness.
As always, thanks to Beverly at How Sweet the Sound for hosting Pink Saturday. You can find a full list of participating blogs here.
Happy Pink Saturday!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Inspiration: Red

Red is a great color for fall and winter decorating. Despite my penchant for pink and other pastels, I like stronger colors when the temperature starts to drop. The last few years, more and more red seems to be popping up in my home as summer fades into fall.
The photo at the top is a great use of red - and one I would consider having in my home all year round. For more inspiration on using color, check out this slideshow in Country Living.
I also thought I'd share some of the red around my house, which you'll find below. You might notice all the patterns are different - I'm not a matchy-matchy person. I prefer to coordinate patterns rather than match exactly, and a like color can really pull different patterns together.

I traded my pale yellow and green floral table covering in the dining room for this red one a few weeks ago.

I found this square of vintage red fabric on eBay. I keep saying I'm going to hem the sides, but I sort of like it unfinished. The red really warms up this little corner in my home.

The red and blue pillows help soften my love's chocolate leather sofa.

I found this red dish fabric a few years ago and immediately thought of it as art, so I stretched it over a big canvas. (Some of you have seen this wall-hanging before.) This actually hangs in my kitchen all year round. The pitcher and plate are TJ Maxx finds and below is a painting done by an old co-worker of mine. I love the vividness of the red.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Tuesday brightener... Plum passion

I am absolutely in love with plum, purple and lavender right now, so I thought I'd use those colors for my Tuesday brightener inspiration this week. I hope you enjoy and remember to embrace a little beauty today. :)
P.S. For those who are new to my blog, here's a little background on my Tuesday brighteners.

Monday, November 9, 2009

The beauty of Grandma's handiwork...

"A thing of beauty is a joy forever." ~ John Keats

For as long as I can remember, my grandmother has been known for her sewing abilities, for lack of a better term. She can knit, cross-stitch, sew, quilt, embroider - you name it, she can do it. Family, friends and church bazaars have all been the recipients of the beauty her creativity has fashioned over the years, so I wasn't all that surprised when my mom called and said she had discovered an old quilt my grandmother made in storage. She didn't need it but wasn't about to throw it away, so she asked if I wanted it. Naturally, I said yes.
When I pulled it out of the box, I marveled at all the work that must have gone into it. It's just a beautiful piece of craftsmanship. Look at the number of stitches it took just to build one flower - not to mention the green edging all the way around! The quilt is about king size, to give you an idea of how large it is, and was made about 30 years ago. I love the colors, which are so appropriate for this time of year. Since I prefer to enjoy my treasures instead of tucking them away, I put the quilt (after a cleaning) on our bed. I love the vintage feel of it and it seems to radiate love and beauty. Thanks, Grandma.

Friday, November 6, 2009

A weekend project...

All photos from Midwest Living

I came across this idea in Midwest Living and was struck by the ingenuity and beauty of it. I love planting flowers according to season and generally use a lot of containers - I find them easier to deal with, not to mention I can keep the dogs out of them. But I don't think I would have thought of filling a working wheelbarrow with plants. Not only can you create a larger display than most containers allow, but you can move the display around the yard as appropriate. And, you can wheel it inside the garage or shed at night to avoid the frost so your plants last longer. Doesn't it look perfect for the fall season?

I love the idea of planting a smaller container like this one above that could be used inside. I'm not sure how suitable it would be for everyday, but for special occasion decorating like the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday, why not? I tend to use only cut flowers inside, but I think I will try this out.

I love the mix of tall grasses and fall flowers in the container above. Wouldn't that be a perfect greeting at the front door? The container below - just a simple metal tin - really suits the plants it holds. I always think flowering kale, in particular, is pretty for chilly weather.
Now that I'm armed with ideas of what I want, I think the weekend's activities will include a little container gardening. I'm off to the garden center...

All photos from Midwest Living

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Tuesday brightener... Beauty's simplicity

Photo credit: Kivanc Nis via flickr

Photo credit: basykes via flickr

What could be simpler than leaves turning colors along a waterway, or a bike propped against a tree, waiting for its owner? Or some livestock grazing in the afternoon light? There's nothing particularly out of the ordinary shown here. And yet, there's no denying the beauty. It's a nice reminder that sometimes we don't really need to do anything to embrace or create beauty in life, other than just show up and pay attention to what makes our heart happy. It's a nice thought, isn't it?
Happy Tuesday.

Photo credit: Richard0 via flickr