Welcome to My Blog

Welcome to my blog! My hope is to pass along ideas you will enjoy using in your homes and in your lives. No, I am not Oprah, giving you life advice or Nate Berkus redoing your pantry. My point of view is more practical if not occasionally foo-foo. Decorating should be fun and you should change your decor often. My ideas and vintage finds will help you do just that. Oh, and you may get some fun personal and family stories. We are a small family but we do a lot!

Since I started my blog a couple of years ago, I find I am writing more about "ideas" for your life. Or at least, things that happen in my life! Hopefully I put a smile on your face and help you set your dinner table.

Friday, July 31, 2015

Soon I will be adding some new stories to Mary Lisa's Treats. There has been lots of travel and fun. I look forward to sharing some advice, adventures and artifacts with you all soon.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Mary Lisa at Behind The Picket Fence

      Mary Lisa Plays Store at the July, 2014 show, Behind The Picket Fence, in Costa Mesa. What a fun time! BTPF is held four times a year. The next show will be on November 8. The location is the Piecemaker's parking lot although this is not a Piecemaker's show.

     This is one of the best shabby style shows in Orange County and a beauty to shop. You will recognize the "cream of the crop" vendors from many venues in Southern California. You will find home furnishings, decorator items, one of a kind creations and so much more.

     I have not been offering many furniture items lately but this show has inspired me to include a few tables and chairs in my collection. As usual I have lots of lovely silver and tabletop beauties. 

      In November I will have a good selection of one of a kind chalkboards. As usual there will be many in my favorite color, white and I am adding some new colors for fall and winter. These chalkboards are not only popular, they are decorative and useful. I use one in my foyer when I entertain to welcome my guests with ever changing messages. They make great menu boards too.

     With football season getting into gear, why not keep up with several game scores to satisfy all your gridiron guests? You could write each teams score in color chalk that matches their team colors.

      By November I will have a good selection of silver plate flatware for your holiday entertaining. For years I have loved using mismatched pieces for both casual and dressy occasions. Try to coordinate patterns from the same era and keep the pieces in scale. For real formal meals I still use sterling from either an heirloom family set or my own wedding flatware.

     The dog bookends from the 1950's are so adorable. They are basset  hound heads with a faux wood background. They would be adorable in a boys room or in your husband's office.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Look What Will Be at Behind The Picket Fence June 28, 2014

Silver is my thing and I will have many beautiful pieces at Behind The Picket Fence on June 28 in Costa Mesa. A nice selection of serving pieces and flatware await you. There are a couple of lovely pieces from the early 20th century. Mid-century trays and vessels are also packed for the show.
     There are many patterns of flatware in silver plate. I rarely buy sterling pieces. Sterling is more expensive of course but I have a different reason for not offering much. The price of silver is rather high right now and has been for some time. There are many shoppers who are looking for cheap prices to sell and have melted down. That's their business but I am in the business of preserving the beauty of the past. The thought of turning a piece of hundred year old silver to dollars upsets me very much.

       The very large spoon in this photo is a dressing spoon. I found this one at an estate sale in Virginia last year. They are fairly common in the East and South but I have rarely seen them in California. You have to love the tiny whisk broom with silver plate handle. It was inside an amazing jewelry box dating to Victorian times. I pointed it out to the seller and she said it was included. It would make a sweet boudoir accessory.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Getting Ready for a New Show

    Here's our cat, Lola, helping me "play store." It's been a while since I put the EZ Up canopy in my living room. Yes, I live in Southern California where the weather is almost always beautiful but the living room is convenient and there are no lawn sprinklers to go off at 5 AM. Sometimes I have to really look at my inventory and decide what "fits" a particular event.
     On June 28 I will be at Behind The Picket Fence in Costa Mesa. This will be my first time with this group so I want an especially pretty booth. Doing an actual practice run seems to work well for me. My family loves the idea of a "store" in the living room! The only catch is planning for this time when we will not be having guests.

     These wonderful chalkboard pennants fit most any occasion. They have a nice white border which frames your message. I like to use colored chalk and add a little flower here and there. The pennants have a hook on either side that makes hanging easy. I found these at a store in Mechanicsville,Virginia. I bought all they had and wish for more.

     If you come to Behind The Picket Fence here's where  you will find me. There are lots of silver items as usual and some fun decorating accessories for your home.

     The picket fence desk is one my husband built for me years ago. It is very functional and cute. It is also very heavy. I have not used it for years because of the type of shows I have been doing. Now it reappears. Don't  you think it is perfect for this venue?

     Stay tuned for more of what I will have to offer at Behind The Picket Fence on June 28.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

I'm back.....again!

Wow, I just noticed my last entry was in May of last year. It has been a while. Here it is Spring in Southern California and it is time to get back to blogging.

After several years of being "bi-coastal", I am back in my beloved and chosen home of Southern California. There are still East Coast trips to find fancies for your home and there are still those quick runs to New York for some fast shopping. But for the most part, I am home and I am loving it.

This past weekend was the end of a seventeen year run for The Groves Antique Market in Irvine. It was always my favorite venue to sell and shop. I loved it even more that the famous Rose Bowl Antique and Flea Market. There were no commercial vendors at Irvine. There were no awnings to put over your RV, there were no pots and pans, there were no pet supplies and there were no packages of 50 pairs of socks.  Beautiful antiques and vintage goodies awaited shoppers every month. The Groves will be missed by many.

Since I had left the Long Beach Antique Market years ago and most recently decided to leave the Rose Bowl Antique Market, The Groves was the only big show for Mary Lisa Plays Store. You know, I am fine with my decisions. I love searching and selling antiques and that I shall continue to do. It will just be at different venues and on a less restrictive schedule.

When I started this many years ago, I did boutique shows. Shows where the vendors were juried. And that is what I have decided to return to. The first of these special shows will be Behind The Picket Fence on June 28, 2014. It will be held from 9 AM to 4 PM in Costa Mesa at Piecemaker's. Yesterday I started planning my booth and today I will start shopping for wonderful pieces to share with you. Please come by and chat and shop!

And everyday you can visit Vintage and Market Finds at One Kings Lane. Not only will you find me, there are many antique vendors from across the country with great finds. You will find some amazing items at OKL. It is a Flash Sale sight so I suggest if something catches your eye, buy it immediately! It will be on sale for a short while and there are literally millions of buyers looking at the same moment. 

Come back to my blog often to see what I have found. As always there will be decorating ideas and social stories. Life is a ball and I enjoy sharing the adventures with you!

Monday, May 13, 2013

Rose Bowl for Mother's Day

     Yesterday was Mother's Day and as always happens, that is the same day as The Rose Bowl Antique Flea Market. Sometimes it turns out that it is a fun outing for mothers and daughters and it is always fun. Yesterday seemed to be more a day for dads to bring their wives and children. Just as much fun. The problem was it was an unseasonably hot day in Southern California. At the end of the day my car readout said 114 degrees. Now I do not care if it is a dry heat, heat is heat and man nor woman should have been out in it! I told my girl friend and partner we should be sitting on the veranda sipping Mint Juleps! Amen!!!

     It is a bit late to show you all what I had but there will be  more come September. Above are some photos of place settings I put together from beautiful mis-matched fine china. There is some Limoges, some English Bone China and a little Lenox thrown in. The pattens are so beautiful, why limit yourself to just one? I have my lovely Royal Doulton English Renaissance that I selected when I married. I love using it and I might add not a piece has been broken in all these years. But if I were selecting today, I might go for a more eclectic tabletop.

     As usual I had many wonderful pieces of vintage silver and many of you purchased pieces to add to  your collections. Thank you to every one who braved the heat and stopped by to say "Hi". The enlarged booth space turned out to be a pleasant addition. Having more display area is always fun. I think next time I will try adding some shade to the new booth area as much for ambiance as comfort.

    One quick note, I will be taking the summer off from The Rose Bowl Antique Flea Market. The summer heat seems to have increased  (Do you believe in global warming?) and I shall be on that above mentioned veranda sipping something! I will be back in September with all the "fancies" I can find to make you happy.

     As always Mary Lisa Plays Store is available twenty four hours a day, everyday at One Kings Lane. Every week I am adding new finds. There you will find the cream of Mary Lisa's crop. Many sales are going to New York so all you Southerns out there must start shopping!

     Have a wonderful summer and let me know if there is anything I can be on the lookout for.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Hello from rainy Southern California. Does it ever rain here in May? Not very ofter. Some of my family is in the northeast today and another family member is in the South and I'm here in sunny California but we all are sharing the same drizzly weather. Here, it is a good thing because the showers will aid in putting out the wildfires that have plagued us for over a week. God sends what we need!

OK, it has been months since I have worked on my blog and I shall write it off to Grandmotherhood. If we aren't with him we are thinking about him and shopping for him and planning for the next visit. Would we feel this way if he were not the second cutest child God ever created? (Our sweet daughter IS the cutest.)  Of course, we would but he just happens to be adorable. I am already worried about future children our daughter and son-in-law create. What if they are not so perfect? Is that why my husband and I had only the one daughter.....hmmmm?

Maybe I have not had time to write but I have made time for shopping, shopping and more shopping. My warehouse runneth over. I have found several new places in the South to wander through and fill my car. And here in the OC I visited The Groves at The Great Park yesterday. This is an old favorite of mind for many years. Yesterday did not disappoint!

It was a misty day with Spring in the air and the shoppers were out in full force. A few vendors told me the crowd was not as large as usual but when I tried to find a parking space it looked quite busy to me.

What a lovely antique market The Groves is. I do not use the word "antique" lightly. This show is well planned and the promoters, Bonnie and Brady, have done an excellent job selecting sellers with great merchandise. Many of the booths are decorated in very tasteful decor. This really makes you want to walk in and see what there is to deserve this attention to detail.

I came away with a cart full and no more. My treasures will make their next appearance at the Rose Bowl Antique Flea Market this Sunday, May 12. Several finds will go to One Kings Lane, Vintage and Market Finds. If you have not visited OKL do it right now. You will find my things in stand alone speciality sales that feature Vintage items and at the Vintage and Market Finds section. The selection at OKL is amazing.

Hope to see you on Mother's Day at the Rose Bowl Antique Flea Market. My friend, Lynda and I are adding space to out booths and will now have frontage on two streets. This means more fantastic fancies for you and your home!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Sandy, A Fall Day's Diversion

Here it is the end of October, almost Halloween. What is this sweet Sandy the Hurricane doing visiting the East Coast? The leaves were beautiful and even with temperatures in the 80's there was that little touch of Fall in the air. Now pow! The wind and the rain have stripped the trees of the Fall color and that touch of Fall is now almost a Winter blast! Snow is coming to the mountains. Floods have hit the beaches. And parts of Manhattan evacuated. This is not the Fall of my childhood. This is too complicated for me. Well, fiddle-dee-dee. When Sandy brings lemons I'll make Lemon Martinis! Here are a few tips and suggestions to pass the time.

Puddles. Here is a classic Fall puddle. You can watch 
the leaves float around. You can throw an acorn in
the puddle and watch the ripples. Best of all, you
can jump in the puddle and splash 'til your hearts

If you are fortunate (or perhaps, unfortunate) enough to be on a body of water, you can watch the water rise.
Here a handy tip from Mary Lisa. If you find yourself caught in a "Natural" disaster such as a hurricane or an earthquake, you might make your self the Emergency Management Apron. This is the one I have for both East Coast disasters and West Coast events. It's just a simple little apron with a few pockets. The contents are basic needs but feel free to add your own preferences.

I have first and foremost a flashlight with fresh batteries. Since I have enough trouble seeing when the lights are on you can imagine what a mess I'm in the dark. Everyone in the family should have their own personal flashlight. A few extra large ones should be scattered around the house, like bathrooms that may have no windows.

Next I have a bottle of St. Germain Liqueur. It is good for snake bites, broken bones or just spritz a little in a glass of Champagne. You can supply whatever suits your fancy but I think it is important to keep a fun yet sophisticated air to this disaster.

You can never have too many Kleenex so stick a pocket pack in one of the slots. Candles should already be placed around your house in safe places. Votives in heavy cups are good. I have a collection of hurricane lamp chimneys that I bought in Colonial Williamsburg years ago. There are always a few sitting around with candlesticks filled with candles. This is a good time to use them in a practical way. And keep some matches handy.

Last and perhaps most important, your cell phone. Keep it charged and keep it handy.

Food supplies for a "Natural" disaster

So now on to the food supplies. There are apparently certain non-perishable staples one should have on hand for "Natural" events. Here I have prepared a table with what I am told are all the essentials you need to see you through a hurricane. Lets look closer.

There is water, lots of water. I believe one gallon per day per person is the rule. Well, I bought a case of individual bottles and that will have to do it for our family. I know at home on the Rancho we fill the bathtubs with water if we know of an oncoming event. Frankly with a dog and a cat in the house, the usefulness of that water is questionable.
Don't forget a manual can opener. You are about to eat all these yummy foods cold because there is no power. That means there is also no electric can opener.

Food-stuffs.....everyone says buy Spam so I bought Spam. Now that I have it I'm not sure what to do with it. My mother never used it. My husband has no experience with it. Now the point here is to be able to prepare a meal without the use of a stove, refrigerator or microwave. So I guess you just open the can and slice it up. We could do a Cobb Salad with Spam rather than ham.I have seen pictures of Spam-Ka-
Bobs. Oh, just the sound of that upsets me.

I also bought tuna- lots of tuna, corned beef hash and the all time Southern favorite for any occasion, Vienna Sausages. Who can survive without them? Do you know they now come in Chicken Vienna
Sausages, Vienna Sausages with Barbecue Sauce, Vienna Sausage Lite. Of all the crazy Southern recipes that have been passed along to me from family and friends, I have never received a recipe that uses these mysterious hunks of "meat." Who knows what they are made of anyway and I doubt that Vienna, Austria had anything to do with their development.

To go with our array of canned meats I have a can of Campbell's Pork 'n Beans. Don't they go with everything? You may also notice there are a few of those little airline size bottles of various adult type beverages. I have always wanted to have a party where the centerpiece was a huge sterling punch bowl filled with ice and hundreds of those little bottles. My husband says everyone would get sick from "mixing" their alcohol. But isn't that just the cutest idea you've ever heard? In this time of "disaster" why not have a little nip with your Spam?

Once again, the table would not be complete without the cell phone. We are fortunate to have this wonder of technology and during this time of stress it is good to know friends, family and help are just a call away.
Almost forgot, paper plates, napkins and plastic utensils. The dishwasher is not working so just toss these after use. I personally do not have any plastic cups so I will be using this crystal Martini glass with palm trees etched in it. It works for me.

Two items I have not mentioned on the "Disaster" table are a tiny butter melting chaffing dish. I suppose in this time of "making-do" you could stick a candle under the pot and heat something or at least melt the butter that is already melting in the non-operative fridge.
The other item is the OMG pillow. You will want it to put under your weary head when all this is over!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Treasures on One King's Lane Today

Go by One King's Lane today and visit the Tabletop category. I have two sets of vintage glasses, the most beautiful Syrup Pitcher from the mid 1800's and a couple of other fancies. Later in the week there is more coming. Martini's have been so popular for some time now and I have a great Martini Pitcher coming up.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Grand Asthetic Era Syrup Pitcher

Aesthetic Movement Syrup Pitcher
Straight from One King's Lane, this Aesthetic Era Syrup Pitcher. This wonderful piece from 1860 is part of the treasures I bought a couple of months ago in Virginia. There is a lot of wear to the silver plate and one of the figural feet has been soldered back on. Someone cared for this piece.

I'm not sure I would actually pour maple syrup from it but as a conversation piece it is amazing. Oh the stories it might tell if only it could talk...General Lee poured the sticky liquid onto his biscuits or Jefferson Davis's children knew hot cakes were on the way when they saw it on their breakfast table or it was used when President Lincoln "occupied" the White House of the Confederacy. Who  knows but chances are it graced some pretty interesting tables in it's life time.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Upcoming Fancies on One King's Lane Vintage and Market Finds

                Another one of my all-time favorite finds. This hand painted tea set was made in China and dates  to the 1930's.   The color matches my background on this blog and my business cards.

Announcing Mary Lisa Plays Store Joins One King's Lane

Many of you have heard of the wonderful One King's Lane. They describe themselves as "a private online shopping destination". And that they are! I first started shopping there a few years back when I heard about this mecca of decorating on the Martha Stewart Show. I immediately ran to my laptop and signed up. Yes, you have to become a member but that is no big deal. What is a big deal is the new Vintage & Market Finds section. Here is the online description........
A vibrant marketplace, arranged by category, featuring vintage, antique  and one-of-a-kind pieces from hand-selected sellers across the country. Hundreds of items added every day!

Recently I was approached by a representative of One King's Lane. Within a couple of days I had been invited to become a vendor in  Vintage and Market Finds. Over the years I have been asked to be in one store or another or to do some wonderful antique show or sell this or that online. For the most part, I am flattered but until now I have not been willing to spend the time to diversify. My family life has always been my priority and I have limited Mary Lisa Plays Store to a rather small market in Southern California.

Well, ladies and gentlemen, I am ready to accept this opportunity with great enthusiasm and excitement.  Here are a few of my finds you will have the opportunity to purchase and fancy-up your home.  Lately  my niche has been silver and crystal but I am returning to areas I have "warehoused". Look for new eras and new decorating ideas.                                                                                                        

Beautiful silver plated trey. I see pretty home made Madeline's on it!

This English teapot on the warming stand is one of the most beautiful and interesting pieces I have come upon in a long while. I found this at a sale in New York and after much negotiating (my daughter, the attorney was with me) I brought it home to California. It has an ebony handle and knob and the lid is hinged. Magnificent!






Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Something Big is Coming!

Mary Lisa, me, is about to take off on a new adventure with Mary Lisa Plays Store. The preparation is under way and I am very excited. Soon I will be share the news with you here on my blog.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

The Four S's: Shopping for Southern Silver on a Saturday

     What do I do for fun on a Saturday afternoon? I go out in the country and shop! Well, that's what I do in my beloved South. In the OC you will find me planning a barbecue California style or at the beach.

     This was a wonderful find. My friend, Lisa, who is the owner of my favorite store in the whole wide world, had a cache of silver plate waiting for me. Tub after tub of wonderful old estate pieces. I was in heaven!

    She set me up with a chair under a shade tree with a bottle of water and I sat there for a long while jumping from tub to tub. Making a pile of "must haves", "maybe haves", "probably not haves". and more "must haves".

     Most of these pieces dated from the mid 1800's to the end of the 19th century. There was a bit of 20th century to keep me alert. Wonderful tea pots, creamers, covered sugar bowl that were so large they look like urns, vases, trays...oh, my goodness, everything a silver addict dreams of.

     I ended up driving away with the trunk and back seat of my rented car filled to capacity. My husband had to carry it into the apartment in  small lots because the huge tub was to heavy to lift. Then Delta airlines delivered all my finds to Southern California in time for me to bring all to YOU!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Mother's Day at the Rose Bowl

Why not spend a beautiful day shopping at the Rose Bowl Antique Market? You find so many goodies for your home and for yourself. See you there!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Decorate Your Chairs

      This vintage patio chair is in a shop in Costa Mesa. It has been painted white and is embellished with greenery and green satin ribbon. This is an idea that has been used for weddings for some time now. Several years ago, I had a surprise garden birthday party for my daughter. Having access to a large collection of vintage straight chairs, I decorated the back of each chair with ribbon and flowers. Now the idea has come into our homes.
    This chair is part of a rather unimaginative dining room set we have in our apartment in Richmond. There is not a lot I can do to make these chairs interesting or even attractive. But I think these small grapevine heart shaped wreaths covered with greenery are a step in the right direction. I added a huge bow of four inch wide ribbon in my favorite decorating color, lime green. To tie the decoration into the apartment color scheme I added a small brown satin ribbon accent. The result adds a bit of spring color and coordinates with the existing look.
     Currently I am working on my shabby chic kitchen chairs on the Rancho. The problem is we have a rather large table and eight chairs. When you add something to eight chairs, you must be careful not to over-do! Maybe simple bows will be the result. Stay tuned.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Vintage Virginia has arrived in California

      A pretty place setting for a continental breakfast or a little tea served at the table. The napkins, both eyelet and lovely blue, and the yellow plate are new from a popular import store. Everything else is antique. Revere bowls, named after the famous silversmith and statesman, Paul Revere, are one of the most useful pieces you can have in your china cabinet.
      I have written about their usefulness in a previous post. Look  back and reacquaint yourself. I have a few very old trophy's in various sizes that I use to hold flowers or spoons on a tray or buffet table.
     Cloches continue to be popular. I have several around my house that I use in many ways. This is one I bought in Williamsburg, Virginia.  The base is a custom piece and accounted for the  ridiculous price. I just wanted the bell jar! I have moss and little faux birds in this one.
     The picture on the right is a vintage martini set up. I found the vintage martini pitcher in Ashland, Virginia. Everything on it still works, you can unscrew the tops, and it is very clean inside. Often these pieces are rusted shut and therefore unusable. The martini "glasses" are actually candle holders. I bought them for small vases and it was my husband who turned them over and discovered a well for a candle. I like using them for substantial martini glasses. They can be whatever you want them to be!

In this final vignette, here are fragile tea cups, crystal and beautiful silver. How tempting it is to sit for a while and sip a cup of tea. These special spring days invite a little relaxation on the porch with a good book. The life that once was!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Happy Easter to Everyone

The birds are singing and the trees are blooming. It's Spring and it's Easter time. It is also my favorite time of the year. Everything is new and fresh and full of color. Go outside and cut some tulips, find a beautiful vase or vintage jar and stick them in. Put some bunnies around your house and go buy a lime green outfit. You will feel life has started all over again!

Monday, April 2, 2012

It's Never Too Early to Start the Manners

Recently I was in a bookstore looking in the children's section. Look what I found there. These cute flash cards teaching manners. Yes, a box full will be in my grandson's Christmas stocking!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Manners and Weddings (and any other ocassion with humans)

     Okay, my antique blog has turned into Mary Lisa Does Etiquette at times. It has often come to my mind that I would like to teach etiquette classes for children. There has never been time to do it but I think it would be quite rewarding. On the other hand, I am amazed at  how many adults could use a few classes themselves.
     Since I got married in the last century, my dear husband and I have lived in New England, our nation's capital, my chosen home state of California and sunny Florida. Manners are somewhat universal but I have noticed subtle differences depending on geography. Case in point, newly married we lived in Boston. Boston is a city we closely associate with well-heeled people. Much to my horror, one of our first dinner guest blew her nose into my Irish linen napkin. There are table manners, party manners and every day manners. Manners are part of our lives because they make life simple, we can all share an expected commonality and there's a built in respect for each other.
     When we entertain our goal is to make our guests comfortable. Whether we entertain in our home or in a public place such as a restaurant, which by the way no self respecting Southerner would ever do,  we treat our guests to an enjoyable and hopefully, fun time. And our guests are expected to do the same for us.
     Wedding manners are no different from our everyday manners. We treat each other with respect and we follow our host's lead. Treating each other with respect does not mean the host should put up with whatever the guests dole out. It's like"unconditional" love. The term does not mean children have a free ride!
     The small wedding perhaps magnified an occasional faux pas and outright bad manners were more obvious. In a crowd of hundreds it is harder to notice a slip in the social graces and I think people are more likely to watch their manners. In the smaller family type setting, people get a little too comfortable and think they can act as they do in their homes. And unfortunately, some people just don't have any manners.
    As I have mentioned previously, every family had the drunken uncle or the inappropriately dressed eighty year old aunt. And we all have friends who we love but they might not know which fork goes with which food. All of us experience different types of people everyday. When there is a special occasion which we have put a lot of work and love into, our expectations are a bit higher.
    Here are a few situations for your amusement and enjoyment. They are a bit unique I believe. In the end, as a host or hostess, all you can do is ignore the offence and look at your guest list closer the next time you entertain.

     Case one: Do not ask too many questions about food being served. Unless there are food allergies, which your hostess should have asked about before the event, eat a small amount of what is served to you and say nothing. Do not ask why the wedding cake (1) is green! If we (2) had so chosen, the wedding cake might have been black and blue, the blue color of mold. Color added to cakes is not unusual and there is absolutely no reason to inquire about it's color.
      Case two: When you are invited to a sit-down meal that is part of a wedding (3), party or formal affair, and you are told the menu has been pre-selected do not ask for a menu and order something else. Most events such as these have been planned with the choice of multiple entrees that should accommodate every one's taste. You do not state that you were unaware of the pre-selected menu and then proceed to order the most expensive item on the regular menu. This is the epitome of rudeness.
     Case three: When there is a reception, party or dinner in the home where you may be a house guest or have some delusion that you are a house guest, do not think this is YOUR home and come to the event in your night clothes (4). Oh, I know, you cannot believe this one. Neither could I (5) ! The author swears, you reach a certain age and you think you have seen it all. Then tomorrow comes and you are knocked to your knees when you see how some people act.
(1) Wedding cake - this is the generic "wedding cake", there is no connection to previous posts on this blog. Wink, wink!
(2) We - this is the generic "we" and does not necessarily include anyone living or dead.
(3) Wedding - the ordering off the menu is not necessarily connected with any previous posts on this blog.
(4)   Night clothes - an example of night clothes may be wrinkled, plaid flannel pajama pants and oh, let say a frumpy sweat shirt.
(5)   I - the generic "I" such as the Royal Family using "we". "I" does not necessarily imply the writer is speaking of her self.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

The Day After

      As sunny but cold as the wedding day was, we awoke the next morning to several inches of snow and just as cold temperature. This picture is of my daughter's patio. Having a patio is a rare and unusual treat in the middle of New York. This six story building has two apartments that have patios.It is a great situation. They are not on an alley. There are other apartment buildings behind hers and a double row of patios. They are all connected by a series of gates for fire safety but it is amazingly private. You can see that touch of California with a Weber barbecue in the corner. Also there is one of my chandeliers converted to use candles hanging in the tree that grows from the next door neighbor's patio.

From wedding gowns and black suits to snow boots and Burberry coats, what a difference twenty-four hours can make. Here is the bride plowing through the snow with her father.
Snow in Manhattan is a beautiful thing to me. I do not live there and I can hop on a plane and leave. I do not have to move the car, shovel in front of my steps or even get to work in it. I love snow in the city because it covers the trash, it covers the cars, it covers everything that is unsightly and dirty. It "connects" all that is beautiful. And snow is so peaceful. It always seems quiet when there is snow on the ground. White is a calming presence. We could not have ordered, directly from God, a better two days.
     After a leisurely breakfast and our walk in the snow, the happy couple and the two sets of parents met for a day at The Met. The Metropolitan Museum of Art is a cornerstone of New York City and a special place for our family. For the past forty years, we have spent many happy days enjoying the treasures inside. The grooms family is from the mid-west and had never been to the museum so the visit was a new experience for them.
     We spent  hours wandering from gallery to gallery. The men especially wanted to see the armor and the girls enjoyed the American Wing. We were all awed by the eighty-two foot long Temple of Dendur and marveled at the  Frank Lloyd Wright room.
     The day was relaxing and fun. It was a contrast to the excitement of the previous day but so enjoyable to spend time with family both old and new.

Wedding Luncheon

     Following the ceremony, my husband and I gave a Wedding Luncheon at the River Cafe' with it's wonderful view of lower Manhattan. This is especially a beautiful restaurant in the spring and summer but I must say on a cold winter's day the huge floral display in the lobby and the amazing view of Manhattan across the water is hard to beat. Not only is this a special restaurant, the service is most attentive and the food is pretty good too.

     After our wonderful lunch, we walked right next door to the dock and took the Water Taxi for a tour. We barely made it up the gang plank before the boat set sail. The engines were running as we ran. The bride was actually the first one to board to an announcement by the captain and cheers from onlookers. As you can see from the picture, this was planned for sunset. How magical the Manhattan skyline was as we cruised off up the Hudson.
     Our first destination was Liberty Island and a close up view of Lady Liberty. What a glorious and proud moment it is to see her there in her majesty. Remembering the scenes we all endured eleven years ago, it certainly gives you goose bumps and you are proud to be am American. Passing Ellis Island where so many have started their journey to become Americans always is emotional for me.
     Neither my family or my husbands came through Ellis but you cannot help but be touched by the all who have walked the paths and hallways. Although many of the buildings have been restored there are still glimpses of the fallen neglected courtyards and rooms. You feel the presence of the weary families who stood in line to be processed and sent on their way in their new country.
     We went up the western side of Manhattan to views of the Empire Stat Building and the new Freedom Tower being built on the land where the World Trade Towers stood. It was a very cold evening but we were all toasty warm inside. We set foot on land at the South Street Seaport after a perfect relaxing cruise.
     What New York wedding would be complete without a subway ride? I am not sure anyone thought this was necessary other than my daughter but she was insistent. And to make it even more fun, we walked what felt like, twenty blocks, to reach the subway station. The looks we got all day of a beautiful bride, her groom and a parade of parents throughout the city was an experience not to be forgotten. From carriage drivers, to policemen, to trash collectors and the most amazing of all....fire fighters, the attention and interest was amazing. Whoever thinks New Yorkers are not friendly should have been with us. The shouts of "Congratulations", "Happy for you", "Best Wishes",  and thumbs up were constant.
     The exception to this was perhaps the subway. We went pretty much unnoticed through out the entire ride. Riding the subway is  not my favorite thing to do. It has only been in the past year and a half that I would even consider riding those underground trains full of everything known to man and beyond. It's not in my blood. Remember I am from the suburbs and I am a Southerner and a Southern Californian. Nothing in my life has prepared me for New York City subways.
      The key to my success in riding is having my entire family with me at all times. I can talk non-stop to them and that occupies my mind. Now lately those trains have been stopping in those tunnels for long periods of time and there has been some train-horn-honking. That does not help. This was a happy occasion though so I grabbed that bouquet of roses, held it to my nose and rode off into the darkened tunnel without a thought or at least just a few tiny thoughts.

At Last, The Ceremony

      Our daughter's soon-to-be husband is a kind thoughtful young man. He had arrived at out Manhattan apartment on the morning of the wedding in a limousine to carry us to our Central Park photo adventure.  The ceremony was to be at one in the afternoon, in wedding lingo we do not  use AM and PM. We use the terms  "ten o'clock in the morning", "seven o'clock in the evening", and my favorite, "half past four in the afternoon." I planned my own wedding for "half past four in the afternoon" because I loved the sound of the words. Almost poetic!
      Anyway, we walked all over Central Park and took pictures at every conceivable spot. One moment that will bring laughter to our hearts for a long time was when we asked to elderly couple passing by if they would take our picture. We held the camera out to demonstrate our desire. The couple were from China and did not speak English. Much to our delight they smiled broadly and walked toward us. Before we knew it, there they were in the family line-up ready to be a part of our memories. We all joined them in the laughter and snapped away. Think of the stories we can tell our grandchildren of our distant relatives who traveled all the way from Beijing to attend their mother's wedding!Well, back on the title of this epistle. Before we knew it, the time had flown by and we were about to be late for the reason of the day...the actual marriage ceremony.
     We had made our way to the south end of park. We darted across the street to The Plaza where a cue of those forever available Yellow Taxi's awaited our arrival. Two by two and three by three we loaded ourselves into a parade of cars. Off we went in the Manhattan traffic. I will say how wonderful it is looking back that we were all relaxed and having fun and totally forgot there was a schedule to keep.
     One by one the little yellow cars arrived at the ceremony. My husband and I had the mother of the groom with us and we were the last car to arrive. Our driver missed the spot by a block and a half but we jumped out and had no problem hurrying to the door. I have neglected to tell you that the high temperature on this beautiful sunny day was a chilling twenty eight degrees. For our Southern California blood, this was a shocker. How my daughter managed to pose for pictures by removing her warm coat is a mystery. I had a really pretty dress but you hardly ever see it because I had my long black "New York" coat on.
      Having an extremely small wedding is a commitment to forever explaining to your family and friends why you did it. Yes, this was a "destination" wedding but not a warm sunny beach where people actually wanted to come. This was New York City in the middle of winter. On the other hand, I cannot imagine a more intimate and truly meaningful ceremony. I was so close to my daughter, I could see the tears gently falling down her face and see the slight tremor in my new son-in-laws hands. The idea of family only at a ceremony and then a big reception has it's merits. But for my daughter this was what she wanted and it was the most beautiful wedding ever.
      The vows that the couple had written were so sweet and personal. They met a couple of years ago in one of the most "fun" cities in our country. I will not identify the city but it was built for entertainment and nothing else. Their meeting was described both in the ceremony and by the groom. "I saw her across a crowed room and knew she was the one." How romantic can you get?

Don't Sweat the Small Stuff

     Planning a small wedding is about the same as planning a huge wedding I have discovered. The difference is in the quantity not the quality. There were the same requirements, events and arrangements to be made.
     There was the bridal gown and clothes for everyone, there were flowers, there was the ceremony and all that is included, there was the luncheon and reception, there was transportation and entertainment, there were announcements. All of the elements were the same. Rather than ordering several hundred of everything, we ordered by the tens. We were able to have hand written place cards and announcements addressed in Calligraphy. We got the perfect roses that were hand selected tied with custom satin ribbons. The vows were heard by every guest without the use of microphones. We were able to talk and spend time with everyone in attendance.
     The merits of a big wedding with friends and family are still close to my heart but I have a new appreciation and love for the small wedding.

     The place cards were chosen by the bride. They were white double mounted card stock with a silver border and a tiny white satin ribbon bow. They were lettered by hand with the first name of each guest. This was another advantage of having a small wedding, first names only. Each place card stood in a tiny white topiary.
     The champagne flutes for the bridal couple were decorated with crystals and pearls and tied with organdy ribbon and tiny blossoms.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

The Reception and Cake Cutting

     This was a small wedding that was planned more as a day of small events rather that the usual big event of the ceremony and reception. My daughter wanted to enjoy the city and spend time in numerous settings throughout the day. There was the morning photography fun in Central Park, the ceremony itself with it's tears and smiles, the walk immediately following the ceremony with the  professional photographers capturing the happy moments for the newlyweds and families. Then the beautiful luncheon on the water, the boat ride at sunset and now the day came to a lovely close at my daughter's apartment.

     This is where the happy couple will begin their life together and make their first home and it turned out to be a lovely place to gather around the cake and toast the bride and groom. The apartment is a duplex and has shinny hardwood floors and lots of white walls. Remember a "duplex" apartment in New York is a two story apartment. When I was growing up a duplex to me was a house built for two families. This apartment is in a pre-war building not a new modern skyscraper so a duplex apartment is a bit rare. There is a cute spiral staircase joining the two floors which made for a great photo spot.

     The day before the wedding, I had spent decorating the apartment and preparing the cake. Chocolate was the flavor of choice of both the bride and groom. I decided on a different chocolate flavor for each layer. My daughter had also requested Cream Cheese frosting. In looking at the many options for wedding cakes, we decided on a small green cake. There was a slight color theme of pink and green for the wedding and this was primarily used at the reception.

     We had a dainty wall banner. Do the words "dainty" and "wall banner" go together? When you use a Martha Stewart design all things are possible. The "banner" was a series of decorative alphabet circles spelling our "Just Married" and the couple's first names. It was all tied together with pink organdy ribbon and sage green satin ribbon. It was simple and elegant. We used a family heirloom monogrammed linen table cloth over-laid with another family cloth of ecru lace.
     You all know of my love for silver and there was lots in evidence. I have amassed a good collection of silver serving pieces at our apartment in Richmond. What I did not have there, we shipped from California. We used my  mother's crystal plates, newly purchased vintage crystal goblets, and lots of silver trays.

     I love the use of cupcakes at weddings today. Although the small wedding cake was ample for the number of guests, I decided to surround the cake with matching cupcakes. A tiny sugar rose topped each cupcake while the cake was decorated with lacy white butterflies. The cake was baked earlier in the week and frozen until the day before the wedding. I purchased a special giant plastic container to place the iced cake in the refrigerator over night. This plan worked perfectly. The cake was moist and fresh. It tasted as if it were baked only hours before it was served.

     Another popular custom for a reception is to have  a candy bar. We did a small version of the candy bar that was placed right on the cake table. My husband enjoyed scouting out candy shops for white candies. Most are more than happy to provide you with samples of the candy. We found there is quite an assortment out there.

     There were the wedding favorite of white Jordon Almonds, coconut flavor white Jelly Bellys, tiny little white crusted mints that resembled white caviar, white M &M's which are a favorite candy of the groom, and while chocolate Hersey bars. They were served in crystal candy dishes and silver bowls and pedestals.

     There was a Goodie Bag for each guest to take home. Inside was a fancy box containing a sampling of the white candies, white meringue cookies in a white box, a votive candle decorated with the names of the couple and the date, custom water labeled with the names and date, and a tiny white frame holding a picture of the couple with a California sunset behind them.

     At the end of the day, I cannot tell you what a pleasant and meaningful day it was. We missed having all the family and our friends with us but there will be time to celebrate with them in a few months. Although this was not a destination wedding in the truest sense it was far from the home our daughter grew up in. That was a disappointment, but I feel the concentration was on the marriage of two people who love each other very much. And in the end, that is why we celebrate the day!