Thursday, September 23, 2010

Spied On An Autumn Morning Walk

The soda syphon or seltzer bottle was a concept introduced as early as 1790. It's a bottle used to dispense carbonated water. These seltzer bottles were popular in the 1920s and 1930s. Today one can purchase seltzer water in pre-filled bottles.

It's officially AUTUMN and a delightful time to take a walk in a quiet NYC neighborhood. We no longer have our NY apartment, but I do have some favorite photos of those times. I like to think about our treasured time experiencing the city that never sleeps. I spied this collection of seltzer bottles sitting on a windowsill in a New York apartment. Fun to see this bit of history as I took a walk one crisp AUTUMN morning. The colored glass coated with dust makes me think these have been sitting there for some time.

I was struck by the composition of the juxtaposition of these colorful seltzer bottles standing at attention within the window panes and the pink texture of the window ledge.

So Happy Pink Saturday!

Stop by to see Mercedes. She shares a wonderfully creative life. I think you'll enjoy her blog, M.E.R.C.E.D.E.S. S.C.O.T.T.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Texas French Embassy

It's Outdoor Wednesday with Susan @ Southern Daydreamer. Come with me through the bustling downtown streets of Austin, TX to a quiet hilltop that overlooks our state capitol.

As we walk through the gates of this old estate, we learn that this home was originally built as the Légation de la République Française during the time when Texas was a Republic.

It was constructed in 1840-1841 as the place of residence for Alphonse Dubois, a young French diplomat, sent to the Republic of Texas to represent the government of King Louis Philippe of France.

French Legation in Texas

The French Legation, built in the Anglo-French style, was restored in the 1950s by the Daughters of the Republic of Texas. Click here to read an interesting account of Dubois de Saligny and his brief time in Austin.

Nestled on a hilltop east of the downtown business district, the French Legation has a protected view of the state capitol.

The structure is the oldest wood frame home in the city and is furnished with items original to its time period.

This little clump of red lilies were all that remained blooming in a flower bed that must have been awash in vibrant color just days before.

There are two of these boxwood maze gardens, one on either side of the main house.

The expanse of rolling lawn is a favorite spot for families to picnic.

The original dirt floor kitchen to the property was destroyed by a fire in 1880. This structure was built in the 1950 restoration of the property and is situated where the original hearth's foundations were discovered. I know this is Outdoor Wednesday, but there is pottery in this building. French pottery! I have to take you inside to get a peek.

The kitchen has an extensive collection of antique French kitchenware, but we'll just focus on the pottery.

Yes, there is even a shelf of Quimper and Malicorne.

As you can see, these two plates are marked HR Quimper. Below are four Malicorne Plates.

The four plates to follow are all French, but all unmarked. If anyone has knowledge of where these may have been produced, please let us know.

This collection of plates is also all French, again unmarked pieces.

This Chinoiserie motif was one of my favorites as were the following two painted in Delft Blue.

Well, I hope you enjoyed our brief outing to the French Embassy of Texas. More information and photos of this property and its history can be found at

Click here to go over to A Southern Daydreamer to see more Outdoor Wednesday outings.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Slowly Falling Into Fall

Scarecrow, Scarecrow

What do you see?

I see Blackbirds looking at me.

Blackbirds, Blackbirds

What do you see?

I see Frisky Squirrel

Looking at me.

Frisky Squirrel, Frisky Squirrel

What do you see?

I see hoards of acorns

Falling from the trees!

Yes, here in Central Texas we are slowly falling into the fall season. The temperatures might still be in the 90s, but the mornings are cooler and the evenings are dipping into the low 70s. One thing for sure is that there are acorns scattered about everywhere, a sure sign of fall.

I'm joining The Tablescaper for her weekly Seasonal Sundays. Click here to see what seasonal changes others have to share this week.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Soon To Be The Season For Witches In The Air

It's beginning to feel a bit like fall around Blogville. I've yet to pull out any fall decor here at HFTS, but I've noticed that others are full steam ahead for this change in season.

And Fall means it's soon 

to be the season for witches in the air.

19th Century Quimper Plate Marked HB Only
Photo Courtesy of Lucy Williams

Some may think that Quimper faience was painted only to depict the familiar Breton folk, but take a look above at this 19th century plate from HB. Not only is the shape of this plate unusual and charming, it is painted with the whimsy of a gaggle of witches on broomstick flying across the sky.

19th Century Quimper Plate Marked HB Quimper
Photo Courtesy of Lucy Williams

This plate is thought to depict the infamous witch in the story of Hansel and Gretel. I find the vivid colors and the interesting border to be perfect for the Autumn season.

19th Century French Faience Plate
Photo Courtesy of Maggie @ Normandy Life

I don't have specific information to share on this plate. It was an auction item some years ago at a French Auction.

Detail of 19th Century French Faience Plate
Photo Courtesy of Maggie @ Normandy Life

It's a perfect plate for Halloween with its flying bats, a witch on broomstick, and a winged devil.

Faïencerie d'Art Breton Witch Plates
Photo Courtesy of Brittany Byways

As you can see, witches on Quimper pottery go back to HB production at the end of the 19th century. The two charmers above are plates currently produced by Faïencerie d'Art Breton and feature witches from the era of the original HB production of these plates.

10" Faïencerie d'Art Breton Witch Plate With Ghost Border
Photo Courtesy of Brittany Byways

The plates are scalloped, and the decor is on a white background that is not as blue as it looks in these photos.

10" Faïencerie d'Art Breton Witch Plate With Jack-O-Lantern Border
Photo Courtesy of Brittany Byways

Each is pierced for hanging, but wouldn't they be fun for a special Halloween tablescape?

If you would like to add these to your own Halloween decor, they are available from Brittany Byways, an online shop offering French pottery both old and new as well as related items. Brittany Byways, the Gateway to Quimper Pottery, has been selling online since 1998, and is offering readers of HFTS a special discount of 10 euros off on the price of these plates if purchased by September 30, 2010.

Click here to go to Brittany Byways. Use the coupon code: HALLOWEEN at checkout.

I'm happy to be joining The Tablescaper for her wonderful weekly meme, Seasonal Sundays. Click here to see what The Tablescaper is sharing this Sunday and for a list of others with something to share.

Happy Fall!

With all the blue in these wonderful plates I decided to also link this post to Blue Monday @ Smiling Sally's and Tam's Three or More Tuesday @ The Gypsy's Corner. Please visit each of these ladies to see what they are sharing this week.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Barnyard Bash ~ English Style

Detail of Hand-hooked Pillow
Welcome to the English countryside for the 
First Barnyard Bash 
hosted by Happier Than a Pig in Mud.
~ Barnyard Bash English Style ~

Detail of Dinner Plate by Royal Stafford
It's nearing the end of the 
day in the English countryside.

The farm animals have 
gathered around the table to celebrate.

Big beautiful sunflowers

Held in a Black Toile canister, 
set the stage for a shared meal.

The toile tells 
the story of the farm

Where roosters and hens 
scratch about while song birds flitter above.

Sweet furry bunnies nibble on the fresh green grass, 
and baby chicks look for tasty bugs.

White Porcelain Egg Holder by Kaldun and Bogle
The rooster crows to spread the word that there 
are fresh eggs a plenty from his brood of hens.

Petite Cow Pitchers Made in China
Gentle British White Cattle 
roam the table.

These beautiful creatures 
are known for their gentleness

Which begins before birth.

Royal Stafford Dinner Plate
The table is set with plates of Royal Stafford featuring 
a beautiful transfer-ware scene of the English 
countryside produced in shades of black.

The borders are laced with bands of rope 
and clusters of fruit and blooming flowers.

And layered above white 
Vintage Garden chargers by Ambiance 
which are placed on woven black ruffled placemats.

Vintage flatware with sterling ferrules 
is marked Universal L.F. and C.

Crisp white napkins layered with napkins 
in a black and white paisley are held together 
with pewter napkin rings.

The the color of the bold sunflowers 
is echoed in the embroidery of the initialed napkins.

Individual Butter Tubs by Sadek
Various little farm animals in the form 
of individual butter tubs are gathered for the occasion. 
First to the table is this little piggy.

Small Square Plate in Dotty Black by 222 Fifth
The baby calf seems 
to be tired after a long day.

Butter Spreaders Made in Italy
One of the 
many resident poultry.

And even a small bunny 
has joined in the fun.

So pull up a chair 
and join these little critters . . .

As they gather 
round the table . . .

For the First Barnyard Bash!

Blue Ribbon Vignette by Debi Raitz
Thanks for joining me for my first Barnyard Bash, and a huge thank you to Happier Than a Pig in Mud, our hostess for the First Annual Barnyard Bash. I hope you will also join me at Quimper Club International for a Barnyard Bash ~ French Style. There you find everything is French faience much like the pieces in the farm scene above. This award winning scene, using French faience figural open salts, was created by my friend Debi Raitz. Debi won a BLUE RIBBON on this vignette. Click here to see Barnyard Bash ~ French Style.

Hope to see you there!

This post is also linked to the following weekly memes. Thank you to each of these gracious hostesses.