Winter’s coming: Download the winter issue of Celebrate Home Magazine free!

31 10 2017

The winter issue of Celebrate Home Magazine is still available for digital download in the links below. Click on either of the links below to download your FREE pdf copy of this issue. The first links is for single-page viewing (perfect for printing off your favorite recipe!); the second link is set up for “reader spreads,” so you can see the magazine in spread format (my favorite!).

Thank you for your support.

Single pages version: Celebrate Home Winter 2013

Reader spreads version (my favorite!): Celebrate Home Winter 2013 Spreads

You can order a print-on-demand copy of the magazine (at cost, plus shipping) here: http://www.magcloud.com/browse/issue/513977

Click here to view on issuu.com.

On the cover: Gladys Roldan-de-Moras, award-winning Impressionist painter from San Antonio, Texas

CHM Winter 2013 FInal Cover

In this issue:

FEATHER YOUR NEST
Winter-inspired lovelies for you and your home.

HOME
Delicious Pops of Color
Easy on the eyes, the Hedstrom house takes advantage of light-filled views with clean lines and engaging color.

FAMILY
Living the Fairy Tale: To Quit or Not to Quit?
Mothers share their struggles with jobs and families.

FOOD & ENTERTAINING
Bowls of Comfort
Take the chill out of winter with our filling soup recipes!

A Wintertime Dessert Party
Pair wine and desserts for elegant and easy entertaining.

Green Chicken: Creating a Family Heirloom Cookbook
Create a cookbook that cherishes family recipes.

The Many Seasons of Beer
Beer aficionado Jefferson Evans explores the world of seasonal brews.

THE ARTIST
Gladys Roldan-de-Moras, Impressionist Painter
Always proud of her Colombian and Mexican roots, this artist’s passion is reflected in her colorful work.

HOW-TO
Winter Photography Indoors
Stay indoors to photograph nature this winter.

PETS
How Much is That Doggie in the Window? Choosing the Family Pup

Think you’re ready to add a furry friend to your family? Here are some things to consider.

THE CREATIVE LIFE
Every Picture Tells a Story
Discover five tips for decorating your walls with original art.

THE COLLECTOR
Bejeweled: Camilla Houghton’s Unique Ring Collection
What started as a gift exchange between two sisters expanded into a beloved collection of rings.

CRAFT
Ring Bling Box
Give your rings a new home with our easy craft project.

PERSPECTIVES
What Home Means to Me

 





Re-post: Celebrate Home Magazine, fall issue

4 09 2017

In 2012, Barbara Kelley and I launched Celebrate Home Magazine, a quarterly lifestyle publication. Visit our website at www.celebratehomemagazine.com. We published four issues (fall 2012, winter 2013, spring 2013 and summer 2013).

Click the link below to download a two-page spread pdf of the magazine:

CelebrateHomeMagFall2012 Spreads

Click the link below to download a pdf designed for single page printing:

CelebrateHomeMagFall2012 Pages

Want to order a print copy of Celebrate Home Magazine? Click here, then sign up for a free magcloud.com account. You can download the FREE pdf or purchase a print copy on this link.





Just in time for spring…

6 03 2016

RE-POST: In spring 2012, I had my first botanical photography exhibit, “Garden Muse: A Botanical Portfolio,” at Green Spring Gardens in Alexandria, VA. Barbara Kelley of Kelley Hospitality (who is also the editor-in-chief and my partner with Celebrate Home Magazine), did a phenomenal job of catering the reception in mid-April. There wasn’t a crumb left of anything when the event was over!

Barbara shares her yummy recipes and party tips in “Inspired by the Garden: Garden Muse Tea Reception,” in the summer issue of Celebrate Home Magazine. Barbara and I published four issues of Celebrate Home Magazine as a personal project in 2012-2013.

I am forever grateful to her for all her hard work and very major contributions to that very special day! Special thanks to Hollace Goodman, who served as catering assistant, for her work as well. Special thanks Ed Fagan of Columbia Photography and Margot Juliette Storch for photographing the event for us. I recapped the event on this blog in the links below:

https://cindydyer.wordpress.com/2012/04/18/scenes-from-an-exhibit-reception-part-1/

https://cindydyer.wordpress.com/2012/04/18/scenes-from-an-exhibit-reception-part-2/

https://cindydyer.wordpress.com/2012/05/07/more-scenes-from-a-reception-for-garden-muse-a-botanical-portfolio/

View the issue as reader spreads (my favorite!):

CHM Summer 2013 Spreads

View the issue as single pages (suitable for printing out the recipes):

CHM Summer 2013 Single Pages

Splurge and purchase a beautiful print copy on magcloud.com (no markup; at cost + shipping):

http://www.magcloud.com/browse/issue/600404

Help us spread the word! Share Celebrate Home Magazine with your family and friends.

CHM Garden Reception

 





Check out my store on Society6!

19 04 2015

Trying my hand at an online store called Society6 to sell my photos on a variety of fun products! All images are available as unframed and framed prints as well as canvases, too, in a variety of different sizes.

I’ll be uploading more later, but there’s plenty to choose from now—prints (unframed, framed and canvas), iPhone/iPad/iPod cases, laptop skins, pillows, tote bags, and greeting cards.

I’m learning as I go and should be able to offer other products such as small area rugs, t-shirts, mugs and even shower curtains. I will be uploading more photos this week so check back often!

Check it out (and support a starving artist while you’re there)! Click on the link below and be sure to look at the list of other products on the left side of the screen.

http://society6.com/cindydyer

Pillows!





On Assignment: Family tree mural

10 03 2015

One project I assisted on while working in Texas over the holidays was this large tree mural (you’ve seen them on Pinterest with framed photos hanging over the branches like a “family tree.”). Last fall, my friend William painted a mural for Color Clay Studio in Schertz, TX. A customer saw it and William got a gig painting this larger one in a house outside San Antonio. I played assistant artist and it was a lot of fun to create. This mural was considerably bigger than the Color Clay one (the wall was 20 ft. wide x 12 ft. high!), but since it was one solid color (and no birds on the branches, etc.), the task was a little bit easier.

When drawing out the initial sketch with conté chalk, we only had a small printout of a family tree for reference. William went left and I went right and within what seemed about 20 minutes or less, we had the tree roughly drawn in! The little leaves sketched out in the center of the trunk were practice sketches to determine shape and size of the leaves. The remainder of the day was spent going up and down the ladder to paint in branches and leaves. The homeowner was thrilled with the results and said she didn’t even want to put frames over it. Yes, he’s available for murals in the San Antonio area and I’m for hire on the east coast, too. Inquire within! 😉

Photos © Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

WilliamTreeMural





On Assignment: Bathroom remodel by Cross Construction (hers)

24 01 2014

Remodel by Cross Construction, San Antonio, Texas

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

BettyHouse1 copy





From Celebrate Home Magazine, Summer 2013: How to Plan a Photography Exhibit Reception

18 07 2013

In spring 2012, I had my first botanical photography exhibit, “Garden Muse: A Botanical Portfolio,” at Green Spring Gardens in Alexandria, VA. Barbara Kelley of Kelley Hospitality (who is also the editor-in-chief and my partner with Celebrate Home Magazine), did a phenomenal job of catering the reception in mid-April. There wasn‘t a crumb left of anything when the event was over!

Barbara shares her recipes and party tips in “Inspired by the Garden: Garden Muse Tea Reception,” in the summer issue of Celebrate Home Magazine. I am forever grateful to her for all her hard work and very major contributions to that very special day! Special thanks to Hollace Goodman, who served as catering assistant, for her work as well. Special thanks Ed Fagan of Columbia Photography and Margot Juliette Storch for photographing the event for us. I recapped the event on this blog in the links below:

https://cindydyer.wordpress.com/2012/04/18/scenes-from-an-exhibit-reception-part-1/

https://cindydyer.wordpress.com/2012/04/18/scenes-from-an-exhibit-reception-part-2/

https://cindydyer.wordpress.com/2012/05/07/more-scenes-from-a-reception-for-garden-muse-a-botanical-portfolio/

View the issue as reader spreads (my favorite!):

CHM Summer 2013 Spreads

View the issue as single pages (suitable for printing out the recipes):

CHM Summer 2013 Single Pages

Splurge and purchase a beautiful print copy on magcloud.com (no markup; at cost + shipping):

http://www.magcloud.com/browse/issue/600404

Help us spread the word! Share Celebrate Home Magazine with your family and friends.

CHM Garden Reception

 





On Assignment: Kitchen remodel by Cross Construction

23 05 2013

Cross Construction, in San Antonio, Texas, remodeled this beautiful kitchen for a client who needed their home modified for special needs. The term is called “aging in place,” and Craig Scott, owner of Cross Construction, is a certified Aging-in-Place Specialist (CAPS). He received his certification from the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB). I photographed six beautiful homes in April and will show more photos shortly.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

AgeInPlaceKitchen





Spring 2013 Celebrate Home Magazine: Artist-in-Residence

4 04 2013

Camilla and Jim Houghton’s laid-back Florida home is featured in the spring 2013 issue of Celebrate Home Magazine, now available for FREE download in the links below. Read my interview, “Artist-in-Residence,” starting on page 12 of this issue.

The more clicks we get, the better we do with promoting and getting advertising! We thank you for your support.

Single pages version: Celebrate Home Spring 2013

Reader spreads version (my favorite!): Celebrate Home Spring 2013 Spreads

Order a print copy (at cost, plus shipping): http://www.magcloud.com/browse/issue/540569

You can also view it on issuu.com here.

Photography © Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

ArtistInResidence





Spring 2013 issue of Celebrate Home Magazine now available for digital download!

4 04 2013

The spring 2013 issue of Celebrate Home Magazine is now available for digital download in the links below. Click on either of the links below to download your FREE pdf copy of this issue.

This issue is jam-packed (and there’s even a jam-making feature!), so download today and get started reading.

The more clicks we get, the better we do with promoting and getting advertising! We thank you for your support.

Single pages version: Celebrate Home Spring 2013

Reader spreads version (my favorite!): Celebrate Home Spring 2013 Spreads

Order a print copy (at cost, plus shipping): http://www.magcloud.com/browse/issue/540569

You can also view it on issuu.com here.

On the cover: What says “spring” more than colorful tulips? I was photographing this bed of flowers and was standing on the edge of the wall when this little girl, clad in a princess skirt with sparkly shoes, came running around the corner. I got this one shot and she was gone. Serendipity!

CHM Spring 2013 cover





Winter 2013 issue of Celebrate Home Magazine now available for digital download!

11 02 2013

The winter 2013 issue of Celebrate Home Magazine is now available for digital download in the links below. Click on either of the links below to download your FREE pdf copy of this issue. The first links is for single-page viewing (perfect for printing off your favorite recipe!); the second link is set up for “reader spreads,” so you can see the magazine in spread format (my favorite!).

The more clicks we get, the better we do with promoting and getting advertising! We thank you for your support.

Single pages version: Celebrate Home Winter 2013

Reader spreads version (my favorite!): Celebrate Home Winter 2013 Spreads

You can order a print copy of the magazine (at cost, plus shipping) here: http://www.magcloud.com/browse/issue/513977

Click here to view on issuu.com.

On the cover: Gladys Roldan-de-Moras, award-winning Impressionist painter from San Antonio, Texas

CHM Winter 2013 FInal Cover

In this issue:

FEATHER YOUR NEST
Winter-inspired lovelies for you and your home.

HOME
Delicious Pops of Color
Easy on the eyes, the Hedstrom house takes advantage of light-filled views with clean lines and engaging color.

FAMILY
Living the Fairy Tale: To Quit or Not to Quit?
Mothers share their struggles with jobs and families.

FOOD & ENTERTAINING
Bowls of Comfort
Take the chill out of winter with our filling soup recipes!

A Wintertime Dessert Party
Pair wine and desserts for elegant and easy entertaining.

Green Chicken: Creating a Family Heirloom Cookbook
Create a cookbook that cherishes family recipes.

The Many Seasons of Beer
Beer aficionado Jefferson Evans explores the world of seasonal brews.

THE ARTIST
Gladys Roldan-de-Moras, Impressionist Painter
Always proud of her Colombian and Mexican roots, this artist’s passion is reflected in her colorful work.

HOW-TO
Winter Photography Indoors
Stay indoors to photograph nature this winter.

PETS
How Much is That Doggie in the Window? Choosing the Family Pup

Think you’re ready to add a furry friend to your family? Here are some things to consider.

THE CREATIVE LIFE
Every Picture Tells a Story
Discover five tips for decorating your walls with original art.

THE COLLECTOR
Bejeweled: Camilla Houghton’s Unique Ring Collection
What started as a gift exchange between two sisters expanded into a beloved collection of rings.

CRAFT
Ring Bling Box
Give your rings a new home with our easy craft project.

PERSPECTIVES
What Home Means to Me

 





P. Allen Smith’s Garden Home at Moss Mountain Farm, Part 7

21 12 2012

Above the brown and white bedroom is the top floor, which houses the sleeping and lounge areas for P. Allen Smith’s nieces and nephews. A bright pink and white checkered runner welcomes you up to the sitting area (my apologies for that noisy image but it was all I got with my iPhone!). Across from the lounge are four twin beds and a full bath. Two dormer window nooks offer beautiful views of the Arkansas River Valley.

KidsBedroom





P. Allen Smith’s Garden Home at Moss Mountain Farm, Part 6

21 12 2012

One of the most inviting spots in P. Allen Smith’s Garden Home was the screened sleeping porch at the back of the house. In his introduction before the tour, he mentioned one of the designers wanted to add a fourth bed to the porch, but he nixed that idea, saying, “We don’t want it to look like a tuberculosis ward!” Below is a shot of the three beds in the sleeping porch, which is the top level of the two-level porch.

SleepingPorch

Below: This room also has a gorgeous copper bathtub (not a lot of privacy, obviously!) and Sue just had to try it out (yes, she is tiny and yes, the tub is huge).

SueBathtub

Below: On the same floor in the front of the house was a guest bedroom with two beds with a crisp color palette of brown, beige and white. I think the two paintings of clouds above the beds might have been done by P. Allen Smith.

BrownBedroom1

Below: Corner desk area

BrownBedDesk





P. Allen Smith and Heidi Berry of the Berry Family of Nurseries

21 12 2012

Before we toured P. Allen Smith’s Garden Home outside of Little Rock, Arkansas on December 7, we had the pleasure of meeting Mimi San Pedro (top photo, middle), chief operating and marketing officer for Hortus, Ltd., the multimedia marketing company that oversees the P. Allen Smith brand. She introduced us to Heidi Berry, of the Berry Family of Nurseries, who has teamed up with P. Allen Smith to offer a special holiday collection of hand-harvested, hand-tied wreaths, door swags, table runners and garlands.

Heidi explained to us how she met P. Allen and invited him to visit the Berry Family of Nurseries in the Cascade Mountains in Oregon. She told us that their greenery boughs are harvested by hand from the lowest tree branches, which encourages trees to grow taller and stronger. No trees are cut down in the process. The products are made from Noble Fir, Western Red Cedar and Douglas Fir. Natural elements such as juniper berries, pine cones, incense cedar, canella berries and white pine boughs adorn the designs.

I shot the image of P. Allen and Heidi in front of a candy cane decoration outside the “tractor barn” before we began the tour of the house. Below the photo is a video of Smith touring the nursery where the greenery is assembled.

Speaking of the tractor barn, click here to see a slide show of how Smith took a standard metal building and refaced it to look like an old wood barn. Very clever!

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

AllenBerry






P. Allen Smith’s Garden Home at Moss Mountain Farm, Part 4

14 12 2012

This is the study/library area outside the master bedroom, sitting area, bedroom, desk/study and master bath. All photos taken with my iPhone.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

Masterbedbathstudy





P. Allen Smith’s Garden Home at Moss Mountain Farm, Part 3

14 12 2012

These shots are of the bottom level family room, guest bedroom, bath and back porch. All images shot with my iPhone!

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

Bottom Floor lorez





P. Allen Smith’s Garden Home at Moss Mountain Farm, Part 2

14 12 2012

These shots were taken on the main floor of the house (middle floor), walking out from the kitchen/dining/sitting area onto the screened porch. The stairs lead down to the walkout basement level with a beautiful family room and another bedroom. Doors lead out to a patio and onto the lawn, flanked on either side by Smith’s detached art studio (one of my favorite highlights!) and an outdoor kitchen/prep building. The garden stretches out below this area, with a stunning view of the river and valley below. I’d love to come back in the spring to see the property when the gardens are in full bloom. All of these shots were done with my iPhone (amazing little thing)!

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

Smith Screen Porch mid lorez





P. Allen Smith’s Garden Home at Moss Mountain Farm, Part 1

14 12 2012

Last week I flew to Huntsville, AL to visit my friend Sue and her mother, Wanda. On Thursday we hit the road headed to Little Rock, AR to visit Sue’s Aunt Gay, whose late husband was former Arkansas Governor Frank White. The occasion? We were all signed up for the open house tour and luncheon at P. Allen Smith’s Greek-Revival-inspired estate located 30 minutes outside of Little Rock. The home sits on top of a ridge overlooking the Arkansas River Valley and is spectacular.

It was love at first sight for me and I shot hundreds of photos with my Nikon SLR, a Coolpix and my trusty iPhone (believe it or not, all of the images in the collage below were shot with just the iPhone). Because there were 90+ people meandering through the house, it was much easier to shoot with my phone than to use my pro stuff. I did get some shots with the other cameras and will share those in later postings.

The collage below shows the main room in the front of the house, plus the sitting room and dining table next to the gorgeous kitchen. I shot every little vignette I could, not wanting to miss even one tiny detail. Learn more about this beautiful property on P. Allen’s website hereMany more photos to come!

PAS Collage 1 lorez





Let’s Chip It!

27 10 2012

Thanks to fellow Pinterest-user, Vanessa Lam, I learned about Sherwin-Williams new color-palette-generator at http://www.letschipit.com. I can see that this new toy is going to be a huge waste of time huge benefit to my design, craft and photography projects. I love collecting color palettes to reference on my Pinterest boards, but now I can create my very own. Here’s my very first palette using a photo I shot at Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens a few years ago. Way too much fun to use!

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





From now until Oct. 31, get your printed copy of our Celebrate Home Magazine at 25% off!

24 10 2012

Magcloud.com is having a 25% off sale from now until October 31! Get the printed copy of the fall 2012 issue of Celebrate Home Magazine for $17.55 (reg. $23.40), plus shipping. The print copy is gorgeous, but you can also view it online free by signing up for a free magcloud.com account. Click on the link below to enjoy 25% off the print version!

http://www.magcloud.com/browse/issue/447668





Celebrate Home Magazine now available on www.issuu.com!

10 10 2012

Celebrate Home Magazine is now available for viewing on http://www.issuu.com! You’ll love the page-turnable interface and downloads are FREE. You can even control the zoom in and out features! Check it out here:

http://issuu.com/celebratehomemag/docs/celebratehomemagfall2012

Help us get those numbers up by downloading your free copy now. Every click helps us grow the magazine, ensuring more issues for you to read in the future. Help us spread the word!





A labor of love: Celebrate Home Magazine is born!

2 10 2012

The Fall 2012 Celebrate Home Magazine debuts today on the first day of October with the mantra of “making the ordinary extraordinary.”

Published quarterly, Celebrate Home Magazine focuses on family, food, entertaining, gardening, art, crafts, hobbies, personal expression, hospitality, pets, decorating, communities and neighborhoods.

The time has come for a magazine like this—highlighting ordinary people doing extraordinary things. No matter your budget, your skills or the size of your space, we’ll enthusiastically share experiences of those who nurture the space they call home. Let us inspire you!

I’ve teamed up with the talented and renowned Barbara Kelley, whose editorial expertise has graced Hearing Loss Magazine for more than 20 years. She brings her passion for hospitality and her publishing experience to this brand new publication! We are both passionate about all things home and welcome you to open the door and come on in. We also welcome you to be contributors. This magazine is for you and about you.

Click the link below to download a two-page spread pdf of the magazine:

CelebrateHomeMagFall2012 Spreads

Click the link below to download a pdf designed for single page printing:

CelebrateHomeMagFall2012 Pages

Want to order a print copy of Celebrate Home Magazine? Click here, then sign up for a free magcloud.com account. You can download the FREE pdf or purchase a print copy on this link.

 

 

Would you like to be a contributing author or photographer? Please e-mail writing and/or photography samples and links to websites with your work to bkelley@celebratehomemag.com.

Do you have an original recipe you’d like to share? Please e-mail your recipes to bkelley@celebratehomemag.com.

We can come to you! Are you having a party or special event at your home or an activity that relates to the subject of home? Contact us to discuss your idea. If it fits the editorial scope of Celebrate Home Magazine, we may photograph your event and write the story.

Do you have a product or service? If you would like to advertise your product, service, or your city/town/region, contact advertising@celebratehomemag.com.

Check it out and celebrate home with us!





Glass-filled window

2 06 2012

We spent part of our Memorial Day weekend in Wilmington, N.C., at the home of my friend Karen’s Aunt Doris. One of the bedrooms had this colorful display of vases and carnival glass in the window.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





More scenes from a reception for Garden Muse: A Botanical Portfolio

7 05 2012

These lovely photos were shot at my April 15 photography reception at Green Spring Gardens by my friend Karen B.’s eldest daughter, Margot. For the record, Margot and her sister, Hannah, are two of the sweetest, smartest and prettiest young ladies I’ve had the good fortune to watch grow from birth to 20 and 18 years old, respectively. Catering by the Sneeze Guard Heiress, Barbara Kelley of Kelley Hospitality; tablescaping by Karen B. and yours truly. Thanks for the shots, Margot!

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Scenes from an exhibit reception, part 2

18 04 2012

A reception wouldn’t be complete without food, and with Kelley Hospitality in charge, mine was p-e-r-f-e-c-t! Visit Barbara’s hospitality blog here. Thanks to Ed Fagan of Columbia Photography for all the great photos!





FAVE: Ashley’s DIY slate cheeseboard

30 01 2012

How cute (and inexpensive) is this idea? Click here for directions on how to make it. Thanks for sharing, Ashley (of Sugar & Cloth)!





FAVE: Sweet Paul Magazine

29 11 2011

Last year ago I wrote about discovering http://www.magcloud.com, a self-publishing site. I was recently browsing the lifestyle magazine offerings and stumbled onto Sweet Paul Magazine, a publication based on Paul Lowe’s very successful blog of the same name. His blog was ranked 22nd in the London Times Top 50 Best Design Blogs. Lowe started as a florist and eventually became a food and prop stylist. Originally from Oslo, he now lives and works in New York City.

There are seven issues, beginning with the spring 2010 issue, available for online viewing free or you can purchase a printed version from magcloud.com here. You can also download the pdf version free from magcloud.com. The digital version includes both the pdf and iPad formats. Open a free account with magcloud.com to view or purchase publications.

MagCloud is not just for professional publishers! It is a great way to publish personal publications such as calendars, recipe books, a family reunion recap, art or photography portfolios, or a vacation travelogue, for example. It’s also less expensive than publishing a hard cover book. At just .20 cents a page for the standard size, a 48-page full-color magazine would cost you $9.60 (plus shipping charges) for each issue (compared to $28.95 for a softcover book at blurb.com—for a page count from 41-80 total). No, it’s not a book you’ll get from magcloud.com, but I can attest to the quality of the paper and the printing. As long as your layout program allows you to output to a high resolution pdf file, you’re golden! And remember, the total number of pages in your file, including the covers, must be evenly divisible by 4 (graphic design speak here). The standard size publication is 8.5 x 11 (and bleeds are allowed), but they just introduced a half size “digest” that measures 5.5 x 8.5.

I’m working on a magazine publication for my photography exhibit in spring 2012 and will be trying my hand at publishing on this site. I’ve purchased sample magazines from the site before and the quality is stellar and very reasonably priced. The best part? You can order as little as one copy of your publication! I wrote in detail about this print-on-demand site on this blog in July 2010 here and in January 2010 here. Oh, and another plus—you can actually sell your publication from the site. When you finish that reunion recap, send your relatives to the link and make them pay for their copy (bonus: you can make it available “at cost” plus shipping or mark up the price and pocket the rest for your efforts).

View the winter 2011 issue on his site here:

http://www.sweetpaulmag-digital.com/sweetpaulmag/winter2011#pg1

On the left side of the site, you can click on “back issues” to view the other six publications. It’s well worth the browsing time. His first publication was 74 pages long; subsequent issues run up to nearly 200 pages long! It is full of beautiful photography and page layout, fun crafts, entertaining tips, recipes, and decorating ideas. I think he’s giving Martha Stewart a run for her money (at least attempting to!).





Le Diner en Blanc, Virginia style

7 10 2011

We held our first-ever Le Diner en Blanc on Saturday, September 24. The week before the event was a series of very rainy days and the forecast for that day was off and on thunderstorms. I had to make a decision: cancel it or move it indoors. I didn’t want to cancel it because we had four people coming from out of state (Alabama and South Carolina) just for this event! I didn’t want to go to the trouble and expense of picking up the chairs and tables I had reserved, then get started setting up and then get chased indoors by a thunderstorm. Murphy’s Law—it didn’t rain after all, but I had to commit to the indoor scenario and then there was no turning back. And actually, it was pretty humid, so indoors was more comfortable anyway!

What is Le Diner en Blanc?
Le Diner en Blanc originated in Paris more than 20 years ago. Thousands of people all dressed in white arrive at the same time to have a posh picnic in a prestigious Parisian location. This is an invitation-only event (you have to be invited by someone who knows someone) and the location remains a secret until the last minute (although you do know the time and date). You’re told the location once you are on the scheduled coaches to the venue. This year’s event included 6,000 people in the Cour Carrée du Louvre and another 6,000 in front of Notre Dame. The Paris version requires you to bring your own plates, food and drinks—in our version, the plates, main course, dessert crepes and drinks were provided (and potluck contributions were requested).

Le Creperie Central
Sue, Barbara and Wanda set up “Le Creperie Central” the night before the party. Sue had crepe flipping duty while Barbara prepared various mixes Gina had brought back from Paris. Yes, imported from Paris…with instructions in French (hence the look on Barbara’s face in the top right photo). Gina did do a test run and wrote the instructions in English, but there was still some translating to do with the boxes that showed other ingredients were needed (thank goodness for the web!). Sue and Barbara made 90 crepes and Wanda assisted with wax-paper-tearing duty. I was busy trying to create the original outdoor ambiance in three townhouse rooms—not an easy task. All three ladies are wearing t-shirts I ordered with the “Le Diner en Blanc 2011” logo (a chandelier with the Eiffel Tower as the center column) that graphic designer friend Karen B. (who is French-born, by the way) created this summer just for the event.

Rethinking the Ambiance of Paris Indoors
Moving it indoors meant scaling back considerably—no white hanging cardboard chandeliers (beautifully crafted by my friend Karen B.) hanging from the trees, no shabby chic candle-filled bird cages hanging from shepherd’s hooks throughout the garden, no full-scale “Le Creperie” station with an LED-lit floral chandelier over the warming station. No tables set with crisp white linens and the French script and floral linen table runners I had sewn two weeks before, topped off with vintage milk bottles and silver pails filled with white flowers or chocolate-colored glittery 24″ Eiffel Tower replicas created with 3-d puzzles from Michael’s. No LED-lighted floral vines swirling the length of each table. No white satin shrugs around each chair back, fastened with a chocolate-colored Eiffel Tower silhouette.

I did find some inspiration indoors, however. My favorite one was my impromptu napkin “dispenser”—using my woman head planter I crafted a sort of ancient Greek Carmen Miranda of sorts. It was so sculptural that many guests thought it was a decoration and barely made a dent in the napkin inventory! The full-scale outdoor French crepe vendor stand was modified for the kitchen island and it worked well despite the lack of outdoor ambiance. A huge thank you to Margot for photographing the tablescapes and decorations before the party started—I was distracted and didn’t get many shots. I think she did a splendid job! These are all her photos in the collage below.

Copying the French
We did move the party outdoors briefly to capture a group shot of the revelers in their “yes-we-will-wear-white-after-Labor-Day” finery—are my friends the best sports or what? Gotta love them—I certainly do! My friend Michael, who lives just across the courtyard, said that when he walked over he got strange looks from a neighbor passing by (it was after Labor Day, remember). Michael came clad in white jeans, a white oxford shirt, cream tie, and to break up his “ice cream man ensemble,” a black and white leopard belt! Sue finally had an opportunity to wear a bridal headpiece and veil she had bought recently at an antique store. Carmen wore a feather fascinator and Paula wore a beautiful headpiece that belonged to her mother. Paula brought in her potluck contribution and every time someone asked what it was, she replied in her best Julia Child lilt, “Beef Bourguignon!”

Thanks to everyone who participated, wore their best white ensembles, and contributed all those delicious appetizers, cheeses, breads, dips, side dishes, fruit salad, deviled eggs (thanks, Katie!), desserts (don’t you just love Norma’s Eiffel-Tower-sugar-topped brownies above?), and ample bottles of le vin blanc and le vin rosé. And in particular, special thanks to Rob for helping maneuver clutter from one room to another the night before (a huge help); Gina for her delicious French-inspired main chicken dish with potatoes, importing the crepe mixes and French sugar (and doing the crepe pre-testing), loaning her lighted Eiffel Tower sculpture and some other French-related items for decorations, and describing her perfect day in Paris (her favorite city); Karen B. for her huge pot of accompanying ratatouille, designing the party logo, putting together two CDs with French music, laboriously cutting out cardboard chandelier silhouettes, and delivering the party commencement “speech” in French (she was born in Paris); Zinna for her large soda contribution (we still have some set aside for us!); Paula for her well-received Beef Bourguignon main entree contribution (Michael enjoyed the leftovers the next day); Karen W. for punching out a gazillion little pieces of balsa wood parts the night I assembled the four Eiffel tower puzzles (and for bringing munchies to aid the process); Sue, Barbara and Wanda for their wine contribution, crepe fillings and crepe making efforts (and for trekking 10.5 hours from Huntsville, AL to our humble home); my decorating partner, Carmen, for helping me bring some of the outdoor ambiance indoors, her ever-present and much needed organizing and clean-up skills, and for flying in from South Carolina just for the party; our neighbor Eric for setting up his outdoor pavilion for us; Michael P. for assisting me yet again with the indoor party portraits (that posting to come) and for translating Karen’s French speech to English (he’s fluent in several languages!); Martha B. in San Antonio for sending me a lovely serving platter with a sketch of the Eiffel Tower since she couldn’t attend (you were there in spirit…and porcelain, Martha!); and finally, thanks to F.T. for helping with the outdoor shots.

Here’s to Le Diner en Blanc next year…but this time in June (so wearing white is more acceptable!) and crossing fingers—outdoors as originally planned. We’ll do Le Diner en Blanc in June, Pesto Fest in September, and get back on track next year. Next up—the Chocoholic Party in February, as always.





Come, sit, stay

23 08 2011

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Whimsy in the garden

22 08 2011

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.