One of the things I most love about flowers is they make you quite aware of the season. You really feel like you are deep into Spring when peony arrive. I think of it as seasonal living. Eat what is in season and it will be the best it can be. Same goes for flowers.
My favorite flower vendor on Saturday in the Market had the first peony offering for the season. This variety is so delicate, with wispy petals surrounding these most gorgeous riot of color center. I find the 2 to be in sharp contrast to one another, which makes this variety just breathtaking.
I placed single stems around the Market shop. Throughout the day they just unfolded to remarkable beauty. This was a memorable first bunch of the season.
We arrived safe & sound to New York last evening. Our drive North took us through the historic town of Garrison as we arrived at our destination of Kent Cliffs. It is the country home of my best friend from college, Devin. I have written about staying here in the past. It really is like a second home to us, we have stayed here so often. He always makes us feel so welcome here. We will use this as home base until Sunday when head into the city. We are going to Brimfield in a few days. I can hardly wait. It is one of the the largest antique shows/flea markets in the world. More on that later…
Ahhhh, peony. The season is so short, but oh so sweet. The fluttery goodness. This is our last peony of the season, and poetically it seemed to last forever. Until we meet again next year…
We pulled up to the Tom Kundig designed Tye River Cabin at exactly 5:20 on Saturday evening. We knew we were in for a treat. Our friends Betsy & Eric, along with their pooch Churchill, invited us to an evening dinner to toast Mister Sive’s recently passed 50th birthday. We would stay over and make an evening and a Sunday out of it.
It was rainy on again, off again, so I pulled 2 photos of the exterior to give you an idea of the cabin. The above photo is by Tim Bies from the Olson Kundig website. The below is by Ben Benschneider (who I have had the pleasure of working with a few times) and was shot for The Seattle Times. The rest of the photos I snapped away on my iPhone.
The first photo is of the house before the concrete patios and firepit area was built. The second photo is how it looks now. The front of the cabin completely opens up to the outdoors. Oversized glass window/doors are on tracks that allow them to be pushed open. The result is a complete connection to the outdoors and the sound & view of the very active Tye River. It is just visually spectacular and peaceful rolled up into one.
You are just completely enveloped by nature.
They made an amazing celebratory dinner that we had sitting by the fire. The fireplace wraps around from the living room into the kitchen.
Black and white photography, which we love, fills the walls.
It was an incredibly relaxing and revivifying 24 hours of much laughter, good food & spirits, friendship, and many smiles. We got into the car to depart. The clock read 5:20. Exactly 24 hours. It could not have been a more perfect gift or visit.
The peonies are just exploding at this point in the season, with each ruffly petal more poetic than the next. A stroll through the Market flower stalls is pure heaven if you are a peony fan. I hope the peonies are lovely for you in your part of the world. They really are such extraordinary blooms.
A big merci to all who sent congrats in many forms yesterday in regards to my book proposal being accepted. I am humbled by all the kind words, and I am now even more motivated to create one heck of a book. Thank you, thank you.
My post tomorrow is likely to be later in the day, as we will be out of cell phone range. Some dear friends invited us to stay with them tonight and host a dinner in honor of TPS’s 50th birthday. They are renting the Tom Kundig Tye River Cabin for the week-end, so many interesting photos of the house will be coming your way.
A happy Saturday to you all!
Sending much love, Ted
Candlelight really does make all the difference. With the dinner for Olivia about to begin, I lit the taper candles and a smattering of the green glassybaby, and the table just danced.
As I mentioned in the post yesterday, this was a week-day dinner, so we drew upon a local French restaurant to supply the main portion of the meal, a roasted chicken with frites. We went this route for a host of reasons. Olivia attended Seattle University, and her favorite place to dine was Cafe Presse, a delightful & beyond yummy French bistro right next to the campus. www.cafepresseseattle.com We thought it would be fun to incorporate something from there into the meal, as “French bistro” was the theme for the dinner. It also really freed me up from being in the kitchen for an extended period right before guests arrived. My tip number one for week-night entertaining–don’t always feel like you have to make everything. With the main portion of the meal covered, I made a quick warm French lentil dish. I also steamed some haricot vert, put a big dollop of butter on top with a few good pinches of salt, and put them on a big platter. Cafe Presse also does a lovely Bibb lettuce salad with hazelnut vinaigrette that is pretty out of this world. A baguette with some French butter, and dinner was served.
For dessert, I had cut strawberries in half and marinated them in triple sec. We served bowls of the strawberries alongside palmiers from La Panier–also an Olivia favorite. www.lapanier.com We really wanted to honor Olivia with some of her favorite Seattle things, and by incorporating them into the meal, they were meant to be small, loving gestures. After many bottles of Sauvignon Blanc and sparkling water, the evening drew to a close. It was a happy night, with just a few tears, and many, many wonderful stories & memories.
Well, actually, it is a green table with a good deal of white too. This is a table I set last week for a dinner we hosted for our beloved Olivia who is moving back to Boulder to be with her family. We wanted it to reflect her time at Watson Kennedy, as well as in Seattle, so an all-green, well mostly all green table it would be. The color green plays a very big part of certain displays at WK, and I knew Olivia would pick up on it right away–and she did. It was the first thing she mentioned when she saw the table.
This was also a week night dinner, so I really had to plan ahead and get many things done in advance. The point I want to make in this post is that mixing & matching is what it was all about. I often hear from customers that they are nervous about having folks for dinner because they don’t have full sets of certain things to set a table. My advice–never let that stop you. We had 7 people at the dinner, but we only had 5 of the green cabbage plates. I used 2 other plates on the ends of the table with a green border and a white middle. I also mixed the glassware up a bit, as I was trying to set a casual French bistro-style table, and some of our green glassware has broken over the years. The point I really want to stress is not to stress if everything does not match. I actually think it makes the table more interesting. We always mix & match chairs, as well, as I really like the eclectic feel it adds to the table and to the room. I found these great melons at the grocer that morning, and they just seemed too perfect not to add. A scattering of green glassybaby would add hits of color and light to the table.
We use white butcher paper at the shops to wrap fragile goods in, so I thought it would be fun to use that as a runner on the table. It also gives it that French bistro feel we were going for. Sort of like sitting outside in Paris.
I always like to add a vintage object to the table. This French Zig-Zag would work, and we also sell new versions at Watson Kennedy, so it tied together many elements of the table and of the dinner. The French napkins also have a Zig-Zag woven into the design.
White peonies for the middle of the table in a vintage McCoy green vase would be nice and low, and bring more white to the table. The peonies this time of the year make me want to weep, they are so good.
Just a few finishing touches, and the table would be set. Tomorrow I will show you the table all lit up, and share with you the menu. It was a very special night.
Friday is the day I refresh the flowers at the First Avenue shop. Having fresh blooms & blossoms set about really adds life to any space. I get flowers from a variety of places–stalls at the Pike Place Market, the grocery store, and many times from the wonderful floral designer, Michael at Buckets. This past Friday after I had purchased the white with a hint of green parrot tulips that I am so fond of, he place a bundle of white peonies next to the tulips, and said they were a happy Easter present and a thank you for being a good customer. What a sweet, sweet gesture. The bunch of 5 stems would be the kick-off to a fairly short, but oh so sweet peony season.
Each peony stem is such a work of art, I most times just want to highlight that brilliance with it placed in a single stem vase. I find this really allows the bloom to shine.
It is also a great way to get the most visual impact from a small number of flowers.
I like to use a clear glass container. Mainly vintage bottles, or a bottle that has an interesting shape. I cut the stem fairly short and tight to the container, so it is not tempted to fall over easily.
That small act of graciousness and kindness of a gift of peonies was very well received. The 5 stems placed around the shop livened up each display they graced. The singular bloom being enjoyed by each Watson Kennedy customer. It was the perfect beginning to peony season.
Seems like yesterday that the hyacinth and the peony were in bloom.
Time flies. I look forward to the arrival of dahlias filling up the Market soon. I hope all of you are enjoying ever bit of Summer that you can catch!
Our friends Betsy & Eric, along with their dog Churchill, came to dinner the other evening. Their host gift were these incredible stems of peony. Poetic is the word that lingers in my mind when it comes to describing this flower. To watch that tight bud unfold into layer after layer of bloom is really a magical thing. The season for peony is very short, so I don’t miss an opportunity to give or get a bunch whenever I can. I tend to like the simplicity of them solo, without any other flowers mixed in, which really let’s them be the star.