Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Lovely Afternoon Tea~Tablescape Thursday



Some days, you need to take a few minutes, pour yourself a cup of tea and let the sun shine in. For an "Afternoon Tea", I am going to use one of my favorite teapots. I started collecting teapots in 2006 after going to a teapot show in Chicago. I was so enamored with them, that I thought I would start a collection. After all, every good home needs a collection of something.
This teapot is very special to me. I found it in the gift shop at Big Academic Medical Center in 2006. My Dear Son was hospitalized and on a ventilator with a MRSA pneumonia and nearly died. He was hospitalized for over three weeks and vented most of the time. He came home for a week and was re-admitted but I'll never forget it. I was very fortunate to have some wonderful people who saved my Dear Son's life and allowed me to see him grow up.


I always stay with my Dear Son when he is in the hospital or when he goes anywhere. He is on multiple medications several times a day and requires total care. When he was on the mend, I went into the gift shop and saw this lovely teapot. I purchased the teapot, cup, saucer and biscuit holder.

Here is a closer picture.


I decided to use this ornate mirror, that normally hangs in my foyer, as a beautiful tray. The detailing is not only feminine but pretty. The mirror reflects all of the light coming in through the window. Using the mirror as a tray is a great way to add a little drama to an ordinary day. It's also a wonderful way to make things more special, if you are having a guest over.

Another view of the tray and the linen monogrammed napkin.

Here is a close up of the tray.


The faux bearskin rug adds some luxury to the tablescape. You can see the biscuit holder next to the tray. Does anyone really store biscuits in there? I store my iPod accessories in there for my workouts.

I love the way the light filters in on the crystal lamp. I originally saw a crystal lamp in a magazine and cut out the page and put it in my home file. The one I saw was an antiqued brass and fluted crystal floor lamp with a solid crystal base; it was made by Decorative Crafts. When my sister died, I found this lamp in her apartment, hidden away. It was nearly identical to the one I had saved in my home file. The only difference was that it had a long, tall shade and the base was giltwood, not crystal. I have since replaced the shade and at some point will probably have a custom silk shade made for it. What a nice find and a nice memory of my sister. Also, if you look closely, you'll see some black and white fur behind the floor lamp~that's my cat lying in the sunshine.

A larger view of my living room.


In this last photo, you can see the botanical print on the wall; it is one of a pair. I purchased the teapot because it matched my prints. My two favorite things in the world are flowers and children. Nearly every print in my home is of flowers, with one exception, the print over my bed. I started collecting botanical prints many years ago for my birthday.

I hope you have enjoyed my "Afternoon Tea" tablescape. Perhaps you can join me next time. In the meantime, be sure to check out other lovely tablescapes here at Susan's blog, "Between Naps on the Porch".
Note: I work part time as a Home Stager and Professional Organizer. I run a business called, "Dream Organizers"; my motto is, "Keep it simple. Get organized. Make it beautiful".

Monday, April 27, 2009

Metamorphosis Monday-Before and After

This will be my first entry in the Metamorphis Monday, hosted by Susan at, "Between Naps on the Porch". As you may or may not be aware, I am a Home Stager and Professional Organizer and run my own business. While regular readers of my blog have seen this makeover, I decided to rerun this when I saw Nate Berkus on Oprah today showing his makeovers for under $500. This is a "no cost" staging makeover I did last year for a client. Total cost was: $0! I did this room and some others in four hours. I used things that the client had purchased and had sitting around her home. I believe everyone has things they can use, they just need to see the things they own in a different way.


Here are some "before" pictures:








And now the "after" pictures!








I originally posted this last year when I did it and you can read the full story, "here". Hope you enjoyed this!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Medical Update

Dear Son had another seizure today before school. The seizure kept escalating and normally, I'll use the magnet on his wrist to activate his Vagus Nerve Stimulator* and that action will send a charge through the VNS typically stopping the seizure. Well, that didn't work today. The seizure started in his bedroom as I was getting him dressed for school. The seizure continued in the wheelchair, and then as we waited for the school bus. I thought at different times, it was lessening however I couldn't get the seizure stopped. We were waiting outside for the bus and when it started getting pretty bad, I went inside to grab my phone in case I needed to call 911. The nurse who rides his bus was there so I had her come inside and help me get him into his bed so I could give him some Diastat (a type of rectal valium used in emergencies to stop seizures).
As we got inside, the seizure was getting a lot worse. I was trying to use the hoyer lift to lift him out of the wheelchair to get him into his bed when I realized I was running out of time. I ordered the nurse to grab the Diastat from the drawer in his nightstand and I lifted his 182 pound body out of the wheelchair and onto the floor where I administered the Diastat. Things still weren't getting any better and I thought for certain I was going to have to dial 911. Things eventually improved and I called him off of school. By the time the seizure was stopped, and I had him back in his bed, it was over an hour later. Not a good way to start the day for either of us. It was a nerve wracking day.
A week or so ago he had a bad seizure so I called Ped Neuro Nurse to see if we had got the diagnostics back on his VNS. As you may recall, in early March, they took some diagnostics from his VNS to send to the manufacturer to see if the battery was getting low. The battery has a life of 7-11 years however Dear Son's settings are so high that they thought the battery might be getting low. She e-mailed the manufacturer and I learned that the battery only had 2-3 months left. Well, the diagnostics were taken on March 11th, so his VNS was coming near the end of it's battery life. I had been worried about the VNS stopping and was afraid Dear Son might die if this device wasn't working. I spoke with her again on Wednesday and she had started the insurance approval process. Once that was complete, they'd check with neurosurgery to see when we could get Dear Son scheduled.
Once I had that news, I had to call the school nurse to inform them that the battery may not work. As part of Dear Son's emergency plan, they are instructed to use the magnet three times within three minutes prior to calling 911. I told them that if it's not working, they may need to call 911 sooner. Well, in order to do that, I needed to speak to the head nurse to make sure that everyone was clear on that and to see if they needed a written letter from Ped Neuro Doc in order to do this. The head nurse said no, that she would inform all of the people who care for Dear Son, of the new instructions. Dear Son has a nurse who rides the school bus (She takes care of Dear Son and another medically fragile student.) and has a CNA/Medical Assisstant that cares for him in the classroom.
After today's seizure, we had to speed things up. The primary insurance doesn't require pre-certification while the secondary insurance does. I called them and we got most of the issues ironed out today. On Monday, we'll get a surgery date from Neurosurgery and then the approval should be done.
The VNS works really well for Dear Son. It was implanted (under his arm) in 2004 and took about a year or so before I really noticed the improvement in his seizures. Since that time, it works pretty well. When he has a seizure, I just hold the magnet over the device which is implanted under his armpit and it will activate it immediately. (The device is on 24/7 and sends charges regularly; in a seizure, holding the magnet will immediately activate it versus waiting until the next charge.) He still is on multiple seizure medications, in addition to the VNS, to control his seizures. As you may recall, Dear Son's seizures were caused by a mutation of the ARX gene. With that mutation, children are born without any gaba, a key inhibitory neurotransmitter. He also has a progressive neurological disease. He had been having more seizures over the past few months and in January, his device was increased to the "rapid cycling" to give him better seizure control.
I have been a little on edge lately, worried about him. He's been having more seizures, some small and some larger and I guess I worry the most about sudden death. I have read that some kids with seizures can die unexpectedly. I worry his device will stop working and then he'll have a seizure and die. I am not a worrier by nature, and try to stay calm, however knowing how much he needs this VNS and the fact that it's not working very well lately, has me concerned. I will feel a little bit better once the surgery is scheduled. At that time, they will most likely upgrade his device to a newer model, versus simply replacing the battery.
Note: *A Vagus Nerve Stimulator, or VNS, is a device used to control seizures. The device is implanted under the armpit. When activated, the device sends a charge/shock up to the vagus nerve and for some unknown reason, that disperses the seizures. There are many settings on the VNS, and the VNS runs 24/7. A magnet, typically worn on the patient's wrist, is used in an emergency to immediately active the device. A Vagus Nerve Stimulator is like a pacemaker for the brain.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Tablescape Thursday~Breakfast at Tiffany's~



The inspiration for this week's tablescape was the yellow tulips, courtesy of Trader Joe's. Originally, I had another set of blue dishes for this week's tablescape however when I sat the tulips on the apple green toile runner, I knew this was it. Let's take a look around and see what makes this tablescape perfect for breakfast.
The foundation for the table is a white tablecloth layered with an apple green toile runner.
The table runner adds color without being overdone. It works because the green in the runner is repeated in the green leaves of the tulips. I placed two of the place settings on the toile runner and the other two on the white tablecloth to add visual interest to the tablescape.
A side view of the table.
I love candles for eating, no matter what the time of day. It always makes the meal seem more relaxed and more enjoyable.

I used my white Spode fine bone china as the base and added a cream colored linen coaster. The linen coaster is embroidered and just beautiful. I thought it was a pretty monochromatic touch. My initial is not really "A" however when I found these at Home Goods, there were only a few initials left so I chose the prettiest one. I would love to have some made for my home. The crystal water goblets are, "Lenox Monroe" and the flatware is Lunt, "Hillsboro" pattern.

For this tablescape, I used my depression glass candle holders; the pattern name is, "Candlewick" by Imperial Glass. Technically, it's not really a depression glass per se however it is often grouped in that category and is referred to as such. I purchased these around ten years ago at Far Out in the Country Antique Fair, because I liked the pattern. I use them in my bathroom when I take a bath, always by candlelight. I never knew the pattern name until this weekend, when I visited an antique shop in my area. They actually have clear dinner plates and dishes in this pattern. I really like it.
Perhaps most interesting is how they photograph. The light from my chandelier catches the detailing on the base making it appear as if they light up. I love this photo.

I used white and cream for this tablescape. The tablecloth, china and taper candles are white and the linen napkins and votive candles are cream. The crystal water goblets have a gold rim around them which repeat the yellow from the tulips.

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Another view of the linen napkins.

A view of the candle holders.
I hope you enjoyed this week's tablescape. Please make sure to visit other beautiful tablescape's at Susan's blog, "Between Naps on the Porch".
Note: I am a Professional Organizer and Home Stager. My business name is, "Dream Organizers" and my motto is, "Keep it simple. Get organized. Make it beautiful."

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Gilded French Embassy Red Tablescape~Tablescape Thursday


This week's tablescape is very special to me. This is the first china pattern I selected and is also my favorite. The pattern is, "French Embassy Red" by Mikasa. I selected this pattern in 1986, the year I got married. This was my formal china pattern and I selected another pattern that year for my every day china pattern. Many brides at that time, were selecting white patterns with silver or gold rims to them, although the metal was very thin and not as thick as the one on my pattern. I wanted a red and gold pattern for the holidays since I always decorate at least one tree with red and gold. (In the past, I had a Christmas tree in every room in the house.) It was also my first Christmas gift from my husband, the year we got married. I remember he purchased one of my china patterns, had it wrapped in a green foil wrapping paper with a shiny red ornament on the front and a red satin ribbon. The box was as beautiful as the china. To this day, I still love this china pattern. At the time, it was one of the more expensive patterns due to all of the gold edging.




The inspiration for this table was a gold tablecloth by Nieman Marcus called, "Venetian" (Update-As of 8/2009, NM has a different product named the Venetian than was referenced here.). I absolutely love this tablecloth and would purchase it except for one minor detail, it's very expensive. If I worked full time, I would buy it however I work part time to care for Dear Son so it would not technically be a "necessity".


I will pause a moment to let your heartbeat get back to normal after viewing that tablecloth. That's precisely what I need to do every time I view that. And then I'll give you another moment to imagine how perfect it would be with my tablescape. Sigh.


My depression over this tablecloth lasted several weeks until I spotted this overlay that you see in the pictures. It is gold with embroidery and scalloped edging, similar to the "Venetian". The foundation of the table is a white tablecloth with this gold embroidered tablecloth.


The centerpiece is a crystal vase of cream colored roses and cream colored taper candles.

I made the napkins. For each napkin, I pinched the top and secured each one with a Swarovski crystal pin for some added elegance.

I added a few more votive candles in cream and then two in red. I purchased the red votive candles with the hearts at Dominick's for $1 each the day after Valentine's Day. I love the way they repeat the color palette.

This picture showcases the embroidery on the tablecloth. I think the sheerness of the tablecloth is very sexy.

A close up of the napkin.
A close up of all of the napkins and the Swarovski pins.

A beautiful side view of the tablescape.


The crystal goblets are Lenox, "Monroe" pattern. I still love them today. I love the detail on them, the swirl of of the stem and the gold edging around the rim. I find elegance in their simplicity. I also chose these goblets at the same time I selected my wedding china.

A better view of the crystal goblet.

Here is a view of the pattern without the napkin. I love the shimmer of fine bone china. Note the detailed gold edging and pattern of the edging.

A view of the back.

Just a few years prior, in 1981, Lenox was commissioned to make a new service that would accomodate the ever-increasing size of the state dinners. (You can see the brochure below.) Nancy Reagan worked with Lenox to design a china pattern for the White House. It was reported that she chose red because of her fondness for the color and because red provided a bright accent to the white paneled walls and gilded accessories of the State Dining Room. The book states that she chose the final shade of "scarlet red" after viewing red samples in the State Dining Room by candlelight. Each piece was personally approved by Nancy Reagan after reviewing the sketches; she made the decision as to how the gold and red should be applied to each of the nineteen pieces of china that made up the service. I ordered a copy of the brochure on the White House china in the 80's and have kept it ever since. It's fascinating to see the patterns of the White House china. (Also, further proof, of my china addiction.)

I am showcasing it here since I thought you might be interested to see how similar the White House china was to my pattern. I am certain my French Embassy Red pattern may have been modeled after the White House China. Nancy had the Lenox pattern commissioned in 1981 and my china pattern debuted in 1984. I thought my china pattern looked exquisite in front of my gilded, Louis the XV mirror.

A view of my dinner plate. You can see the similarities between the patterns although mine does not have the, "Presidential Seal". I think Nancy would enjoy our Tablescape Thursday parties since she is a woman like us~she did not want to be caught without enough "matching" china!



My new teapot looks just perfect here. I think the cream coffee pot looks just right. A red and gold coffee pot might have been too much.


A full view of the table with the candles. It looks amazing by candlelight however I left the lights on for the photographs since it was too dark without the light for photos.

One final close up of the table.

I hope you have enjoyed my, "Gilded French Embassy Red" tablescape. For other spectacular tablescapes, please visit Susan's blog, "Between Naps on the Porch".
Note: I am a Professional Organizer and Home Stager. My business is called, "Dream Organizers" and my motto is, "Keep it simple. Get organized. Make it beautiful."

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