The French Garden Soiree

I was so excited when Mona approached me about helping her to design her Spring is Finally Here To Stay party!  However, after "interviewing" her for clues as to what she would like, I began to get a bit nervous. Her only response was "Do what you think- you know me and I am sure I'll love it." Gulp. Talk about pressure!

When I considered Mona, my observations were that she is a true Southern lady, she herself is gorgeous and she lives in an incredible home. She loves all things French, authentically quirky accessories and flowers. Since she was inviting her best girlfriends and their husbands, I decided that throwing a French garden soiree was the solution. And since Debra, from 5th and State, is helping Mona to revamp a few areas  of her garden, it will be looking great.

I began with collecting items and placing them on the inspiration board.  

Let's begin at the front, where Mona's guests will be entering. Previously I suggested her everyday container plants, but it seemed appropriate to change a few items for the party and enjoy them for the rest of the season.

We'll keep the two front urns planted as before, but the boxwood in the containers flanking the doors will be replanted elsewhere until fall and replaced with blooming, deep blue hydrangeas. Mona will purchase the hydrangeas now, while they are offered for Mother's Day, and place them in the containers for the party. When she is ready, the blooms can be cut off and used in a vase indoors; the now small plants can be planted right in the garden, where they will continue to grow in the coming years. (That is how we have collected most of our hydrangeas... and we have many at this point!)

Moving around to the back loggia and patio area, I suggest that Mona add a few gardenia plants, either as topiaries or in a bush form. Their scent will help to create a magical evening as guests catch it wafting by during a gentle breeze.

Her wisteria will hopefully remain in bloom for the big day. It is just so romantic!

Mona did tell me she intended to look around for a few table linens as she was tired of what she had. We found the perfect cloth over at Sharon's (My French Country Home) My French Country Brocante shop. Just look at this beautiful linen (on top)! The second linen is from Karin at the La Pouyette blog, also in France. This fine linen damask was sent to me as loose fabric and is being made into the linen size that Mona needs for her round table.

The napkins are from Garnier-Thiebaut and truly capture the colors of the party.

This photo set the tone for the party: a combination of collected treasures along the way. 

Since lighting is always the key to a great party, we decided to not only place votive candles everywhere, but also to hang them in the loggia. The candles will last 10 hours.

Mona had a dozen of these precious silver leaf votives, so we'll use these and intersperse them with a plainer silver leaf votive on all of the tables. At least eight per table will be necessary to create the sparkling candlelight. 

These candlesticks, found on her last trip abroad, will be given a place of honor on the food station table.

This collection of greens will be on the loggia's mantle. Be they greens from the florist or greens cut from the yard, they always look pretty massed together in a silver urn, or even just a terra cotta pot (lined with a garbage bag or foil to hold the water).

I decided to create the guest table centerpieces with this soft spring color palette.

Some of the flowers that we used are lavender lisianthus, periwinkle blue scabiosa and hydrangeas in soft pink and white. They were placed in old zinc containers and were kept low so Mona's guests could see across the table. Our rule of thumb is no taller than the height of your arm with your elbow on the table and your hand (shaped into a fist) up in the air. Any taller than this will interfere with the sight line.

The silverware is a collection of old family pieces.

 They can be set by the plates or casually grouped for the taking.

Petite vases of roses will be placed on the occasional tables, spread around the patio area for cocktails.

Mona did splurge on a fabulous vase of blue delphinium for the cocktail hour, to set on the bar.

This is how I envisioned her party at the end of the evening.

Good friends, good food, good wine.

A great party!

 And a great party indeed!  Wow!  A huge thanks to Ann.  You are sooooo talented. I don't know when I've enjoyed myself more. 

It's been quite a week...If this is your first time here please check out all the events leading up to this Soire...

First a complete re-do of my gardens by Debra with 5th and State here.  Next Marsha with Splenderosa dressed Sister and I for the party here.  And the Crescendo today with Ann from Plum Siena

No Sunday Supper this week.  I'll still be cleaning up from the party and re-hashing everything with good friends.

Speaking of good friends...did you enjoy the party?  It's your turn.  Let's talk!


The Sister's Become Fashionably Chic!

We absolutely love blogging.  The very best thing about it is the daily inspiration from blog friends and the friendships that have developed.  It's a friendly community.  Most enjoy sharing knowledge and expertise and helping others along the way. I know I've received far more than I've given and am truly thankful to everyone. 

This has been a week where collaboration has abounded.  Debra Phillips with 5th and State is launching a new online landscape design business.  We worked together on a test pilot with my grounds and her work is amazing.  If you missed that post earlier in the week, click here.

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On Saturday Ann with Plum Siena, an expert at artisan wall and architectural finishes as well as event planning has put together a virtual Garden Soire in my back yard that you will not want to miss.

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Don't forget to come back Saturday for that one.

Today you are in for a huge treat.    Marsha with Splenderosa is the most fashionable person I have ever met.  Her taste is exquisite.  Her jewelry designs are fabulous and you will definitely want to hop over to her site to take a look around and browse her Etsy Shop.


But don't leave just yet, because  Marsha has done a virtual fashion makeover on Sister and I that we're completely blown away with. 

Enjoy Marshas's talent...

"I went to a garden party to reminisce with my old friends

A chance to share old memories and play our songs again

When I got to the garden party, they all knew my name

No one recognized me, I didn't look the same"

And, so it goes when two beautiful blonde petite sisters,

who are both interior designers & live in Arkansas,

decided to host a garden party in their

newly envisioned home...

I decided they needed to push the envelope a little,

just as they would do if redecorating our homes,

by outfitting them in coordinating ensembles

with very fashion forward accessories.

After all, they want to be memorable, don't they?

And with these sumptuous dresses from

Alberta Ferretti

they look elegantly at-home casual,

just the right tone, I think.

love the crystal chunks around the neckline

whimsical shoes, either pair


below, a coordinating 2-piece, we need to nip in the waist

because our girls are the white skirt with

appliques...add the turquoise jewelry & voila...casual dynamite.

Jewelry could be interchangeable between the 2 outfits.

And those calf-skin wedges!!

But either pair would do...


Next pair of dresses, again

Alberta Ferretti

because she designs for small women.

Loving the chiffon print, billowing skirts & sleeves.

To keep the ensemble zippy the necklace which has

a tribal flavor with hammered gold hoops.

Sexy red wedges, perfect for the garden.


Goddess dress in coordinating apricot silk chiffon

with appliques of lace in a dark tan...

again the billowing aspects...

lay on the gold & turquoise for a big pop of color

and making it look so new, not so formal...

with those turquoise wedges of summer.

Our ladies both have shorter blonde hair, so we won't be

seeing long strands hanging down so the jewelry becomes

even more important.

I've given them two choices for the enchanting evening.

I do hope they love them as much as I do.

Thank you, Mona, for inviting me to share in all the fun.

Now, let's all grab a glass of champagne and find

a great place to sit so we can see and be seen.



Wow!  Two girls can dream...Sister and I hope we never wake up.  We can't pick a favorite.  We'll just have to beg for lot's of party invitations to wear all of these wonderful clothes.

  Thank-you Marsha for such a sweet friendship and the beautiful job you did on this post!

What do you think?  Is Marsha's eye for fashion and beauty not just incredible?  She needs to be dressing Hollywood stars. 

It's your turn.  Let's talk!