Saturday, March 31, 2018


Spring fling
Last night Passover began. Tomorrow
is Easter Sunday. Thus I'll assume that
many of you may be hosting family or
friends in the near future. Creating the
perfect setting for one's peeps needn't
be challenging. Nor does it require a
flock of chicks, ducks, or a bunch of
bunnies. All that's needed is a touch of
color and a bit of your time. This year
we won't be hosting Easter. However
I thought it might be helpful to share
some tables past to help you mix things
up. Let's hop to it and get set to inspire!
  Deja vu
As you can see from the first three tables shown - we love turquoise.
You'll also note that the same elements reappear frequently.
You don't need a "great wall of china" to mix it up.
Changing out table linens, flowers, plates, or glassware
can suddenly make the same old... look new!

  Perfect ground
Here an elegant damask table cloth sets a blue note.
The dinner plates are Lenox "Blue Frost".
And if you love them as much as we do.... 
there are a dozen just like them for sale in our shop!
And... they're dishwasher safe!

 Salad days
Here is that same blue tablecloth again.
This time it's centered with pink peonies and purple lilacs.
Note that the tiny flower in the napkins picks up the pink note.
Don't those same Wedgwood salad plates
look different when set upon some ivory Spode?

  Midas touch
Why not go for the gold?
Here are those same Spode dinner plates
paired with fabulous Limoges bowls.
And don't you love the mix
of pink, pale peach, and ivory roses at center?
Our sister store
Wild Iris Floral & Home
can whip up a centerpiece just like it
for your Easter table!

  Repeat performance
Elegant doesn't have to be fussy.
Have you noticed
how often I've use these same candlesticks?
Designed by Thomas O'Brien
for Reed & Barton - 
they're classic yet modern.
And as such will never go out of style!

  Neutral territory
Sometimes we all need to calm down.
Ivory roses set upon an ivory Chinoiserie tablecloth do just that.
Could anything be prettier than those
tall etched Morgantown "Milan" goblets?
We've got a dozen of the same in the shop right now.
Why not sip your Easter Sancere out of one and the same!

Black and white
Less can be more.
Especially when it packs a punch in black and white.
However you don't have to say it with flowers.
Here a black candlestick and blown hurricane 
do their best to keep things centered. 

 Four times the charm
The other evening we had our neighbors for dinner.
And I just realized that I set almost the same table
as the one shown above - four years later.
However this time four old friends
hold court dead center.

 Hurricane Gregory
As you can tell, I adore candle hurricanes.
This time in turquoise yet another colors the situation.
Four small posies of miniature carnations
add a touch of spring without breaking the bank.
And... they last forever!

Birds of a feather
Here the same old blue birds return to Capistrano.
Set upon blue damask placemats
they look fresh and new.
And notice yet another bouquet of white carnations.
If it ain't broke don't fix it...

If you've got it... flaunt it
Why hide your beautiful dining table from sight?
The right placemat can set things up more than properly.
If many of the items on this table look familiar - 
What's better could be better than
having a bunch of old friends at your table?

Ultra violets
Keeping things simple is not only easy
but can be equally chic.
Here a mix of Amethyst glassware
and mulberry transfer ware are set upon woven placemats.
If you want to do the same - 
we've currently got a lovely assortment
of purple glasses and plates at the shop.
All of which are BERRY special...

Variations on a theme
A provincial French tablecloth block printed with grapes
is topped with Wedgwoood's Old Vine transfer ware in mulberry.
Gold and Amethyst antique pressed glass goblets
in the "Provincial"pattern finish the theme.
Finally two Amethyst hurricanes are paired with a country french bouquet.
Now all we need is a good bottle of Cote de Rhone!

Spring awakening
Pastels are not your only option for spring.
Here a deep jonquil yellow jacquard table cloth sets the precedent.
Spode Florence plates and blown venetian ruby glass pick up the pace.
Meanwhile bamboo handled flatware
takes it all down a notch.

House bound
Last minute guests?
Chances are you've got everything you need
right at hand to set things up perfectly.
Consider this mix of
blue and green.
At it's center is a simple houseplant.
Combined with graphic placemats
and my beloved Adams Chinese Bird ironstone.
Can you lend a hand in applause?

Green with envy
Given it's turning green outside, 
why not do the same on your table?
Once again I've used common houseplants on the table.
However this time 
I added a pyramid of granny smiths.
All of which ended up either in a pie or as apple sauce.
 Proving you don't have too spend all your green
to make a scene!


415 W Janeaux Street - Lewistown, Montana -

Friday, March 30, 2018


Good, better, best?
In theory one should rise above it.
Especially on Good Friday. At times
dealing with humanity can bring one
closer to hell than heaven. Years ago
I said a cordial "Good morning" to
a gentleman whose response was
"What's so good about it?!" At that
point I had a choice - either walk on
by or address his negative demeanor.
Knowing him more than well I opted
to avoid a fuss and not indulge in an
exercise in futility. I considered him
 a waste of my time. But was I right?
Half and half
Now that time has passed, I must admit
that I rather regret not taking him on. In
every situation - both good and bad we
have two options. Either we choose to
positively deal with life's challenges or
negatively opt out in defeat. Given I'm
of the glass half full variety, I'm rarely
willing to give in easily. Hence against
all odds I try to do my best and make
lemonade out of any sour situation. It's
just who I am. Thankfully my positive
slant always puts me in a better frame
of mind. Hence I'm fairly balanced...
Either or
So, per the prior question - exactly what
is good about it? My subtle suggestion
to anyone who can't positively answer
said query is to sit down and pull out a
pad and paper. Thereupon please create
two columns entitled "good" and "bad."
Next start filling in the blanks. Denote
what is good and bad about your life.
Depending on where and when your jot
things may jump from column to column.
Invariably one thing is certain, after such
an exercise one realizes that things are
never as bad but better than you thought.
Upon closer examination
If however the bad outweighs the good -
it's time to stop blaming everyone else
and take a deep look at yourself. Exactly
why are you in such a bad place? And
what is deterring your ability to improve
your outlook. Better yet, get up and walk
over to the nearest mirror. Whatever you
see, it's a reflection of who you really are.
That person looking at you is in essence
the root of most if not all of your evil.
Such a realization can be disconcerting.
But once you know who's standing in
your way you can finally move along.
Sink or swim
Few of us purposefully harbor ill intent.
However one's perspective on life can
skew one's results. Crossing from the
dark to sunny side of the street isn't
easy. Nor is making a funeral a going
away  party. If you only focus on what
you've lost - you'll never realize what
you've got. Rather than licking your
wounds, why no count your blessings?
Instead of sinking, swim. Ultimately
it's all about you. And once you take
control of your destiny, it's as good as
it gets only... much, much better!

Thursday, March 29, 2018


Years ago Frank and I happened
upon Portland Oregon's Lan Su
Chinese Garden. There within
we discovered an urban oasis of
zen peace and quiet. The art of
gardening is a passion shared by
many eastern cultures. Yet one of
the places I've longed to visit is 
Dawnridge - Tony Duquettes'
oriental fantasy in Beverly Hills...

Click the link below to read all
of the latest C+V HOME blog -

Wednesday, March 28, 2018


More to love
Recently I grabbed one of those rags
sitting beside the grocer's register. I
couldn't resist those before and after
pictures chronicling some celebrity's
battle with the bulge. But what really
grabbed me was the headline "I'm fat
and I don't care because I'm happy!"
If only we could all be as comfortable
gaining girth. Fortunately for some
who battle gravity, God imbues them
with a supernatural gravitas. Enabling
them to confidently carry a few extra
pounds. And so I wonder, why can't I?
Temporary solution
We Baby Boomers are obsessed with
recapturing our youth. Hence we still
admire stars who'll do anything they
can to resemble times past. Consider
Goldie Hawn. It's highly doubtful that
anything real remains on what's left
of the lady in question. In theory she
appears better than ever. Yet close
inspection indicates time marches on.
No matter what one does knees give
out. Skin covering implants becomes
dry and brittle. Thus unless one sleeps
in formaldehyde, nothing stops time.
The last stretch
Hopefully at this point most of us
know what makes us tick, so why
fight our body clocks? The older
we get - the more we question if
anyone can stem the inevitable
tsunami of age related disorders.
Yet we old timers still do our best
look young. Which often requires
shedding pounds or layers of skin.
Why can't we end this cycle of self-
inflicted abuse for vanity's sake?
Given we're all winding down, why
waste what little time we have left?
Excuses, excuses
Many blame their aging challenges
on everyone but themselves. Some
recommend limiting one's intake to
only twenty healthy items. Others
theorize that processed foods are
killing us. Extremists worry that
genetically altered foodstuffs are
secretly driving us to eat much too
much. However the harsh truth is
that every generation fights the
same battle. Therefore we expand,
contract, and morph into updated
versions of our moms and dads.
Easier said than done
In the old days one simply gave up
and bought a girdle. Back then one's
waistline happily grew along with
their assets. While I'm certain some
of our ancestors worried about their
expansion - group dynamics helped
soften any blow. Somewhere in the
sixties we all became obsessed with
being thin. For some it is quite easy.
Frank is perfectly happy nibbling on
half of a sandwich on whole grain
bread. Whereas all I want is a loaded
foot long sub and then some donuts!
Wake up call
Both of us are in essence doing what comes
naturally. I've come to the conclusion that
as long as one doesn't over indulge in either
direction - you're doing just fine. Therefore
I'm stopping with the head games. Ending
all the foolishness. And... emptying out my
closets of all the things that will never fit
again. Rather than try on that shirt one more
time only to realize it's still too small, I'm
throwing it into the "sell" bin. Instead of
beating myself up, I'm joining that exposed
celeb and giving up my battle against the
ravages of time. Are you ready to join us?

Tuesday, March 27, 2018


Spring awakening
There is no doubt that spring is in the air.
Post weeks above freezing our three plus
feet of snow have melted away. Exposing
soil that's ready and waiting to be dug into.
While we've lived in our restored home for
over four years, this will be the first spring
post finishing our landscaping. Well... not
finishing but actually just starting what is
certain to be an ongoing evolution. Given
Easter arrives on April 1st (and that's no
joke) spring's on the upswing here in central
Montana. However don't worry, we're fully
prepared for at least one blizzard in May...
Out with the old...
No wonder I can't understand those who
purposefully flee every changing season.
Obviously it's lovely to live a comfortable
existence by volleying between temperate
zones. Yet I can't help but wonder if snow
birds truly know what they're missing?!
The dichotomy of snow versus blossoms
is all the more amazing after shoveling
for months. Given we all want what we
can't have - it's understandable that my
husband is plotting what he'll plant once
we're finally frost free. Until then we'll
enjoy any sign that spring is imminent.
Lighten up
I resisted "springing forward" to daylight
savings time. However it's been more than
glorious to enjoy the resulting extended
time in the light. During the past weeks
the days have only gotten longer. This
morning the sun rose in all it's glory at
7:07 a.m. Mountain Standard Time. And
post a full day of extended exposure to
blue skies and crystal clear sunshine will
fade out of sight at 7:39 p.m. If nothing
else seeing said light not only lifts one's
spirits, but also takes you to a better place.
There is light at the end of the tunnel...
For everything there is a season
The older one gets, the more one understands
the psychological impact that holidays have
upon even the most jaded of curmudgeons.
Christmas and Chanukah occur amidst dark
times. Hence we try to do everything possible
to brighten our spirits. By February who doesn't
need a little love? Thus we say it with flowers
in honor of St. Valentines. Add the inspiration
of Vogue's March issue's arrival on our snowy
doorsteps. Going for the green on St Patricks
has less to do with being Irish than affirmation
that soon things will be green again. And then
comes spring's official kickoff -  EASTER!
Optimist's club
Invariably spring is but another omen of things
to come. Hence each year many of us are but
pascal lambs being led to slaughter. All because
even if one dons a floral frock topped by some
sunny bonnet - there is no guarantee that you
won't freeze your ass off. However all is not
lost. Such a seasonal celebration is yet another
sign that change is in the air. Meaning that all
too soon we Montanans will be battling smoke
while the rest of you complain about the heat.
Theres a method to the madness of seasonal
disorders. Which are if nothing else nature's
ever changing way of giving us hope. Enjoy!

Monday, March 26, 2018


Burnt out?
Few of us like to face mortality. Yet we all
must annually embrace our aging process.
As tots we've got plenty to celebrate with
fun, games, gifts, and goodies. Most party
on until suddenly they realize that rather
than on an upward rise they've plateaued.
Or worse, have started on a downward
descent whose outcome is a dead end.
However all hope is not lost. Some like
Frank's father survive to a point beyond
expectations. Thus at almost 100 we laud
his every day as nothing but a blessing.
If only we could all be so optimistic...
Time marches on
I loathe birthday fetes. In part because I
consider snuffing out one's candles a bad
omen of things to come. I like presents but
I don't like performing before a audience of
friends and family. Others like my eldest
daughter "E" beg to disagree. All of her life
she's leveraged every birthday to the max.
Today is her big day and given she's already
been celebrating for a week - it's certain to
be a blast. However this year puts her closer
to the big four ohhhhhh. A marker that for
most adults is if nothing else a wake up call.
Or if one is in denial... a rude awakening.
Pop quiz
How is it possible that I have a child that old?
Realizing that your "baby" is more than adult
is humbling at best. Even today my children
remain young in my thoughts and dreams.
Now that my youngest has two children I'm
forced to face the reality that we're all moving
closer to our expiration dates. Who knows how
or when one flips their switch from optimism
to fatalism? While said time bomb ignition
differs by the individual, ultimately we each
must embrace our here and now. Appreciating
every gift life gives us. And what better way
to go on living than doing just that? 24/7/365!
Burning questions
The best thing about birthdays is that they
mark another year of growth, wisdom, and
self realization. Slowly but surely each of
us reaches a point where we finally accept
who we are. Not all are happy with who
stares back at them in the mirror. A few
remain bitter over their pasts imperfect.
However most enjoy reaching a point of
no return. Because along with all of the
memories - both good and bad - comes
the ability to embrace our own reality. So
rather than fight the inevitable, we finally
accept that right or wrong - it is what it is.
Reasons to celebrate
Since birth, I've watched my eldest overcome
an endless series of challenges. Many (in her
father's opinion) self-inflicted. Over her three
plus (plus) decades on this earth "E" figured
things out. And more important, has embraced
herself in all her glory. Allowing such a self
realization to occur may be the toughest yet
most fulfilling aspect of parenthood. You see
ultimately every parent must let go. And in
doing so give their child the greatest gift of
all - complete responsibility. So today is the
day to celebrate all that "E" has already and
is yet to accomplish. Her best is yet to come!

Sunday, March 25, 2018

7th Day Surprise: PALM IT OVER


Given there is still a chill in the air
most of us wish we were anyplace but here.

Some are dreaming of swaying palm trees
as others will be waving their fronds
in religious fervor.
Whatever you do...
Enjoy a blessed Palm Sunday!