Sunday, August 29, 2010

Celebrating ~ Giving Back with a Gift

Hyacinths for the Soul is celebrating its First Year Anniversary with a Giveback. The winner will be announced on September 1, 2010. I hope everyone will join in the fun.

~ The Gift ~

~ A Package Containing ~

Something Old

That would be this vintage tea table cloth that I purchased last spring at the Round Top Antique Show. 30" square and made of white woven cotton, it is full of lovely details and in perfect condition. Four beautifully embroidered bouquets fill the space in each quarter as delicate pink appliquéd ribbons gracefully weave in and out among the colorful blooms. The workmanship on this piece is gorgeous!

Something New

A friend gave me a set of these "Friendship" glasses sometime ago. They are classic vintage style French glassware with the expression: Un Verre D' Amitie which means "friendship glass" or "glass of friendship." I've so enjoyed using my set of these charming glasses, that I picked up a set of four to include as part of this gift.

"I raise my glass in friendship to each of you!"

Something French

Just for you, I contacted The Frenchy Bee and placed an order for some of my favorite cookies and caramels from Brittany. Barnier's Sucette au Caramel au beurre salé are petite salted caramel lollipops. Each is wrapped in a blue and yellow cover decorated with the Quimper faience figures depicting a Breton man and woman in traditional dress. Barnier has been making candies in France since 1885. The galettes are pure butter cookies, the traditional favorites from Brittany. These thin and crispy cookies come packaged in their own Quimper motif tin. You can read more about these collectible tins in a previous post here.

And Certainly Something Blue

Included in the gift package is a set of 4 porcelain dessert plates, each featuring a different toile design. This set was spotted on eBay and purchased specifically for this anniversary giveback. The plates come in their own little round box featuring a beautiful blue toile design.

So there you have it, and I do hope it will please the one who wins. It is a small token of appreciation for all that I receive from each of you who visit and leave encouraging comments. I wish I could send every one of you a gift. My blogging friends have definitely enriched my life this past year. Thank you!

If you want to take part in this Giveback, leave your entries on the original post HERE.

Thank you to the following hostess. Please visit their blogs to see a list of others participating this week:

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Sunday Favorites ~ Anniversary Celebration Giveback

Welcome to Sunday Favorites, hosted by Chari @ Happy to Design. The clock is ticking, and August 31 will soon be here. I'm sharing my original Celebration Giveback post today for Sunday Favorites. If you've not yet joined in, there is still time to be included in the drawing. Just be certain to leave comments on the original post.

Calligraphy by Kay Johnson, 1985

In the spring of last year, my good friend Maggie @ Normandy Life and also the blog mistress for Quimper Club International recruited me to be guest blogger on the QCI blog for the month of September. At the time, I honestly didn't know what a blog was, so I went about cruising blogs to see what Blogville was all about. It wasn't long before I discovered Between Naps on the Porch and Susan's weekly Tablescape Thursday. That in turn led to Confessions of a Plate Addict. With Susan's irresistible porch settings and Debbie's Quimper tablescapes (and other French inspired posts), I was totally hooked. I had spent months visiting what was becoming a long list of favorites. So with the encouragement and guidance of Maggie, Susan, and Debbie, Hyacinths for the Soul became a reality, and I took the leap and jumped in with my very first post on August 2, 2009.

~Twelve Months ~

~More than 120 Posts ~

~Almost 300 Followers~

It's been an amazing year. I had no idea how much pleasure this thing called blogging would offer. HFTS has provided a creative outlet that has led to hours of fun and a whole new circle of friendships, not to mention that I've become much more tech savvy along the way. I follow and read your blogs with great admiration. The amazing number of individuals who generously and graciously share their talents and creativity continually amazes me. I learn from each of you every day. So thank you to all who visit, comment, encourage, correspond, and share your individual talents and creative spirits. You, to me, are unique in all the world.

Detail of Original, Signed By Ange, 2010

Recently, a very special blogging friend sent me a piece of her original art. Earlier in the year Ange of Signed by Ange had invited her readers to leave a comment with their favorite quote. I was the incredibly lucky individual whose name was drawn for a special gift.
Ange took my favorite quote, worked her calligraphic magic, and created a uniquely charming piece of art . . .

Which traveled across the Atlantic from Ange's home in Toulouse, France . . .

And now has a place of prominence in my little office, where I can see it as I work on creating posts for HFTS. (Please excuse the odd color variations in the above photos. Not sure why the same wall looks two different colors.)

Of course, Ange, being the dear that she is also sent along a delightful assortment of bits and pieces for me to use in my own art projects ~ all little jewels of French ephemera from the countryside in Toulouse, France.

Included in the package was this delightful little card.

And this very thoughtful note.

Meet Ange ~ wife, mom, long-distance runner (across glaciers, deserts, & oceans), educator, calligrapher, artist, blogger, wordsmith, friend ~ I hope you'll stop by to visit Signed by Ange. Her blog posts this summer are few as she is taking a bit of a holiday, but look for her to be back soon. I think you will be charmed by her talent, her sense of humor, her joie de vivre.

Ange, I treasure this unique piece of your work with its cool shades of blue, beautiful calligraphy, and the special 1996 French stamp with Madame de Sévigne and her quill pen.

I've been the recipient of several wonderful gifts from friends in Blogville, so in celebration of the first anniversary of HFTS and in appreciation of each of you who give me inspiration and encouragement daily there will be a drawing for a give-back gift at the end of the August.

~Just follow the usual routine ~
To be entered leave a comment on this post.
For a second chance, leave a separate
comment telling me you are a follower .
If you post the celebration button
on your sidebar or share it in a post,
leave another comment for a third opportunity.

~The gift ~

a package containing

something old,

something new,

something French,

and most certainly, something blue.

Click here to leave comments on the original post to be included in the drawing.

Winner will be announced September 1, 2010.

Thank you to Chari @ Happy to Design for hosting Sunday Favorites which offers me the opportunity to share this post again. Click here to see others that are sharing today.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The Endearing Legend of Blue Willow

Much of the following post is one I shared last August. It was the third post I created for Hyacinths for the Soul and since August is the month that HFTS celebrates it's 1st Anniversary, I decided it was appropriate to share this post again for the color BLUE.

If you've not yet joined in for the Anniversary Giveback, click here to enter in the drawing that will be held August 31, 2010. Winner will be announced on September 1, 2010.

The Legend

Once upon a time there lived a very wealthy mandarin who had a beautiful daughter named Hon Shee. There was also a boy named Chang who loved Hong Shee. To keep them apart, the mandarin imprisoned his daughter in the palace.
One day Hon Shee escaped, and the two lovers raced over the bridge to a waiting boat, her father in hot pursuit. They managed to elude the mandarin, reach the boat and sail away.
A storm developed, the boat capsized, and the couple were lost at sea. It is said two love birds appeared immediately thereafter ~ the spirits of Hong Shee and Chag.
~Anonymous ~

It's time again for Rainbow Summer School, and today's color is BLUE.

I'm thrilled because BLUE is one of our favorite colors to accent our home.

We have several rooms with blue walls,

wingback chairs in blue leather,

blue upholstered French bergere chairs,

dinner plates in Spode's Blue Room series, . . .

The list could go on and on.

Blue is one of those magical colors that compliments other colors. Think of the fresh feeling of the South of France that combinations of blue and yellow provide.

Or the striking complimentary combo of blue and orange . . .

And the favored patriotic American spirit of red, white, and blue.

Perhaps the serenity of blue and white speaks to you.

It certainly speaks to me. The fresh, crisp feeling of blue and white never fails to fill my senses with joy.

Homes with collections of Blue Willow always catch my attention and imagination. Though I don't personally have a collection of these age old charming ceramics, I've long admired pieces of blue and white Blue Willow in antique stores and in the homes of friends.

What I do have though is a very limited, but extremely sentimental grouping of a child's set in the Blue Willow pattern.

When my parents married in 1939, as a new bride, my mother dreamed of having her very own set of Blue Willow for her dining table. Place-settings of this fine china were far too expensive for the young couple's household budget, yet Mother must have longingly admired sets and continued to wish for a set of her own. As a surprise one day, my sweet and clever father brought home a set in miniature. It wasn't the table setting Mother desired, but she loved and appreciated the little set all the same. During our youth, my sister and I, along with our friends, hosted many a tea party with the treasured little set of Blue Willow. Unfortunately all that remains of Mother's set is this small group.

The Blue Willow pattern was first designed in the late 1700s by Thomas Minton. Over the years it has been produced by many different manufactures, and all these years later this classic pattern is beloved by many a collector.

The classic pattern portrays a Chinese legend of two young lovers. The elements within the design all have significance from the legend. The border of a zig-zag fence represents the father's efforts to separate the young lovers.

Weeping willow trees,

various fruit trees,

three figures on a bridge,

a boat,

and pagodas,

all have significance in the story of the young couple.

There are many variations of the legend, but all end with the young star crossed lovers being transformed into immortal love birds.

My Parents in 1939

Today, the few remaining pieces of this cherished child's set have a place of honor in the living room of our home. Not only do they bring me memories of happy childhood tea parties, but they also speak of the romantic days my parents shared as newlyweds. Years ago I offered to purchase a set of Blue Willow for my mother. She simply smiled and said, "I'm happy with the set your father gave me." I treasure these little dishes as heirlooms.

Who knows, perhaps this little chard of a long ago broken plate will become the topic of a future Metamorphosis Monday right here at Hyacinths For The Soul.

You'll find more BLUE at Mrs. Matlock's Rainbow Summer School.

Thank you to the ladies hosting the following weekly memes. A click on the link will take you to others participating this week. More information about each of these events can be found on my sidebar.

Blue Mondays @ Smiling Sally's

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

GREEN ~ It'll Do Fine

"It's not that easy being Green.
Having to spend each day the color of the leaves.
It seems you blend in with so many other ordinary things,
And people tend to pass you over . . . "
Words taken from Kermit's Famous Song IT'S NOT THAT EASY BEING GREEN

No, it's not that easy being green, 

especially in the world of Quimper French pottery. 

 The color green is found on many pieces as an accent, 

but for the primary color of this pottery 

to be green is most unusual.

Green Hydrangeas and Yoko Ono Green Land Mums

Others might have passed this coffee/tea service by 

without much thought, but it was 

love at first sight for "the chef" and me. 

 It's a complete service for twelve: 

dessert plates, cups and saucers, 

creamer, sugar, and coffee/tea pot.

A friend contacted me in the summer of 2006. 

 She knew of a couple who were downsizing 

and wanted to sell a complete tea/coffee service. 

Jacqueline, who is French and the original owner, 

included a note with the special story of this set.

Soon after WWII, she and her American soldier husband, 

traveled to the United States to begin a life together here. 

In the summer of 1946, on a visit back to France 

to visit her parents, Jacqueline and her mother visited  

Brittany and the atelier of Paul Fouillen. 

 It was on this trip that Jacqueline's mother 

purchased this set as a gift for Jacqueline.

There were actually two sets purchased at the time. 

 The other very different in color and design 

was enjoyed by Jacqueline's mother during her lifetime.

 Jacqueline's daughter now treasures the set 

that had been her grandmother's, so she didn't need this set. 

 Lucky me!

Jacqueline told me that she carefully 

packed this set in her suitcase and 

carried it with her on the return journey, 

crossing the Atlantic by ship and 

then traveling by train on to Texas.

Paul Fouillen opened his atelier in the late 1920s. 

 He is well known for his unique designs 

with both Celtic and Art Deco influences.

The wonderful hand crimped handles 

on each of these pieces are glazed with a sponge technique. 

 Though each piece includes the 

concentric bands of green color and the green checks, 

there are different designs painted 

on each side of the various pieces.

And this magnificent t

ray matches our service!

A very thoughtful friend and fellow 

member in the Quimper Club International 

sent me this tray as a surprise one Christmas.

It was a piece 

from her own collection.

When she learned that I had purchased the dessert service, 

she felt the tray should be reunited with the set.

See, it has the darling dragonfly 

that is on the tea/coffee pot.

Lucky me, again! Thank you, Laverne!

I've talked enough. 

 Won't you join me for a cup of tea?



And how about a 

little something sweet?

You may serve yourself with this 

sweet sterling fork that I found 

while antique shopping in Santa Fe.

Help yourself to a plate and 

one of these little cake forks.

You may use one of the beautiful linen napkins 

that were gifts from Mary @ A Breath of Fresh Air. 

 Just look at the fine detail on these.

May I tempt you with a horn of dulce de leche? 

 These horns are filled with a 

sweet caramelized goat's milk cream.

Or for all you chocolate lovers, 

here is a special Hatch chili chocolate brownie.

This is the season for the famous 

Hatch chilies from Hatch, New Mexico.

These chilies are HOT and add a 

subtle spicy after-taste to the chocolate.

The chocolate isn't really that hot, 

but have another sip of tea if you like.

"I'm green, and it'll do fine, it's beautiful!"

As you can see, sometimes I repurpose this service when I want to serve a glass of ice tea. With the heat of summer, perhaps you'd like a glass of ice tea before you head off to Mrs. Matlock's Rainbow Summer School Class for more on the color GREEN and the other parties listed below.

Don't forget to join in for the Celebration Give Back here. You have until the end of August to participate.

Bargain Hunting & Chatting w/ Laurie ~ Favorite Things Saturday