Italian Pottery & Murano Glass

DSC_0448I was haunted by the Italian pottery I didn’t buy when I was in Rome a few years back. So, this summer, I was intent on finding some on our trip to the Amalfi Coast.

My travel advisor, Sandy, gave me the heads up that there was a wonderful place in Ravello, which was our first stop. I found Ceramiche Cosmolena and narrowed down my choices to 6 colorful, whimsical place settings that can all be mixed and matched.

What I didn’t expect was to fall in love with the Murano glasses used at the Belmond Caruso. Made specifially for their Ravello and Venice hotels, these glasses were each like little works of art. I took photos of my new Italian dishes (which were being shipped home) to the boutique at Belmond Caruso and narrowed down the beautiful array of colors to 2 white, 2 turquoise and 2 orange, which would complement the pottery.

The dishes arrived first – not a single one was broken – and the glasses arrived this week. There was one casualty, but it is being replaced, so I will soon have my entire collection. Perfect for our kitchen table or outside on the patio, I almost hate to cover them up with food!DSC_0449DSC_0454DSC_0467DSC_0455 DSC_0457 DSC_0461DSC_0465DSC_0464DSC_0466DSC_0468Sometimes the best reminders of an amazing experience are ones that you can incorporate into your every day!

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Summer Dinner Party

IMG_4041Summer entertaining should be easy and breezy, not overly stressful. Yet, that doesn’t mean it can’t be a little dressed up.

Since setting the table happens before any party, you can take your time and embellish up to a day or two ahead. For a recent dinner, I started with matching hot pink chargers from Marie Daage with my wedding china, Wedgewood Crown Sapphire. It’s one of those patterns that I loved, then tired of and having spent years in the drawer as I rotated a number of other patterns, finally seemed new again. Pulling in the hot pink napkins and glasses gave a little punch to each table setting.

As I have mentioned before, it has been a banner year for the hydrangeas, so I was thrilled to just use what was in the garden for my centerpieces. Using a mix of containers…some gifts, some recycled, some simple water glasses, I was able to create a landscape of high and low down the center of the table.

Perhaps my favorite touch was using hydrangea leaves for placecards.IMG_4038 IMG_4034 IMG_4055 (1) IMG_4046 IMG_4033IMG_4036Using what you have and have accumlated over time, mixing it together and sharing it with friends…that makes entertaining easy and breezy.

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Simple Summer Entertaining Tips

DSC_0352Simple summer entertaining…is that a misnomer? I don’t think so. The first thing that comes to mind for summer is being outside. In the Northeast, winter seems like a season that lasts half a year, so on any decent day, you’ll find me outside in the backyard.

The other thing that comes to mind is…use what you have. Finding a favorite “go to” color is an easy way to always have things on hand that can be used for an impromptu gathering. Obviously, mine is pink, but yours could be navy, citron or persimmon. Don’t be afraid to use basic pantry items, too….you can elevate them by how you present them. Presentation is everything!

This is a simple set up that I pulled together to welcome my mom to New York. Isn’t that reason enough for a celebration? The base is my potting table, which is meant for growing herbs. When I’m not growing herbs in it, I put the top on and use it as a “bar cart” and serving station. It’s the perfect height and I love the look of the weathered wood.DSC_0344 DSC_0355 DSC_0345Next, I needed to dress it up a bit, so I used a garland that I saved from a birthday celebration. It says “party”! Additionally, I use the “good stuff”. That means ditching the plastic for crystal and silver. I’m not setting an entire table, so it’s as easy as loading up a silver tray and bringing it outside. Don’t have a wine or champagne cooler? No problem. Use a basic glass vase and cut some hosta leaves out of the garden to dress it up.DSC_0349 DSC_0356DSC_0346Some people like salty. Some like sweet. I’m the former, but I always love to have a little dessert for those who love them. Store bought cupcakes are dressed up with one of my favorite sprinkle mixes by Amy Sedaris for Fishes Eddy. The little white candies say “I Like You”.DSC_0341 DSC_0342DSC_0340 DSC_0343The key to simple entertaining in summer, or any season for that matter, is to have an arsenal of entertaining basics on hand and to find a formula that works for you. Happy Summer!!

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Sources: Drink More Champagne napkins (Shop Lettermade), Hot Pink monogrammed napkins (Emily McCarthy), Silver bowl & similar (Watson Kennedy), Rosé All Day pillow (Nest Inspired Home), Garland (BlushBazaar)

Find more Simple Summer Entertaining Tips from these lovely bloggers: ShabbyFuFu, Megan Pflug Designs, Classic Casual Home, Hello Lovely, Rough Luxe Lifestyle