joy of nesting

joy of nesting
Shiree Hanson Segerstrom Design and Wellness for Women with Arthritis and Other Chronic Pain.

The CASA Tables: They are all winners!

Saturday, May 22 was our Friends of Placer CASA Ladies Tea and Table Setting fundraiser and it went off without a hitch. There were over one hundred guests in the Granite Bay, California garden of my friend, fellow Friends of CASA volunteer, and sometime client Wendy Thomas.  Her house and garden are so pretty, it was the perfect setting and we were relieved it didn't rain as forecasted. The Chinoiserie themed table above was done by me. You can read about assembling the table and where I purchased the decorations on my last blog post, just before this one. The fortune cookies had "fortune" necklaces inside with engraved...fortunes. These necklaces were gifts to my guests and came from my design store S.S.Home.

 Thank you Face Book friend Beth Bloom, sister Michelle and baby Ruby, and Mom for coming and being guests at my table! My other three guests had to cancel at the last minute. We missed not seeing you! This table had the prettiest centerpiece and I love the napkins.

The tea set on this table was gorgeous. You can only see a glimpse of the tea cup unfortunately, but the pot is in the upper left portion of the picture. The young lady attending this table was sweet and helpful.

This table had a bee theme. The place card holders were skeps and the napkin rings had little floral supply bees tied to them. There were salt cellars, what a nice touch, and a daisy centerpiece topped with a crown (look closely) in reference to the Queen Bee I presume!  Daisies were so perfect on this table.

This table is "vedy" British. Fresh flowers and ferns, old fashioned tea cups and a feminine color scheme of lavender and pale green. The tulle adds another feminine element. Really pretty. Charlene my expat friend will approve.

Cut crystal, fine china, and a Battenburg tablecloth I think? I can never remember the name of these flowers. Is it Ixia? If you look closely, you'll see the center piece vase has a built-in matching "frog". These make flower arranging so easy. A simple, charming table.

A tea party within a tea party. She painted the roses red (not really). On the back of each chair were cast characters March Hare, the Tweedle brothers, etc. Humor is a strong design theme in table setting.

Festive looking friends of CASA. Diane Williams in the center.

The table above is quintessential country. That pattern is from the forties I think, Desert Rose?
Very sweet.

My sister Michelle and 20 month old Ruby Sabine Killian came from Napa to attend. Ruby found the stage and did some performances for us. She is a happy little girl.

Pretty fluted vases with peach colored roses.

The Friends of CASA are all fantastic bakers, and I'm not just saying that. Everything was to die for. I couldn't try everything but I did have some of the Meyer lemon bars (I didn't make these), the quiche, the tea sandwiches and oh my goodness! There was a little sweet and savory tea sandwich with cheddar cheese made on raisin bread that was delicious.

More Friends...

The event included d.j. Reuben, several volunteer 'teatenders' who peddled hot tea, white wine, and rum punch. One of the highlights was a fashion show of totally gorgeous outfits from Rema, a boutique in Granite Bay. The models were confident and beautiful women, one of which was Wendy's oldest daughter Ashley

Green is a really hot color right now and this table had several shades of it.

Little houses.

Many kudos to Wendy, Debby , Don, and all the "Friends", guests, and volunteers for making this such a splendid event! My personal thanks to Debby's neighbor Elsa and to David (love you Baby) for helping with my table!

CASA Ladies Tea and Table Setting: Planning, Shopping, and Loot. PLUS...Homemade Hummus

Conceiving, planning, and shopping for any type of an event display has always been one of my favorite, and most frustrating jobs. Whether it's a table setting, retail display, showcase, or home tour, I can never seem to approach open ended projects like these with a normal amount of practicality. I am thankful and a tad surprised when they turn out alright. Take for instance the vase above that I purchased from
Z Gallerie, and the Foo dogs from Target. I chose them for the Ladies Tea and Table Setting event I'm doing to benefit Placer CASA, Court Appointed Services Advocates.  

I intended the scale to be large. The table being provided for me is a 60" round. The Foo dogs are about 31" tall and the vase is about 42" tall. Practical scale? No. But taking these types of chances, particularly on scale, has done me well. I don't know if they will end up on the table, but I'll do my best to work in as much oomph as possible.  The table is a Chinoiserie theme and since Chinoiserie was already on my radar I was inspired by a shower LA designer Mary McDonald did for an expecting friend. Mary does a lot of different styles but I believe she collects blue willow ware and she decorated the shower in pinks and blue willow ware. Sharp, fresh, and punctuated style.       

So I knew I wanted to do something in a large scale, despite the fact that we were asked to keep our centerpieces low. Oops, oh dear. Walking around Target looking for ideas, I happened across the Foo Dogs and they solidified my plans. At Target I also found a wonderful fuscia cotton sheet set that my seamstress is sewing into an 86" square table cloth and 8 20" matching napkins; 8 sheer white curtain panels to be turned into chair drapes; and some beautiful handmade glass votive's. At Pier One Imports I found the wonderful Chinese mugs with matching lids.

They are just perfect. At Cost Plus I found three small Japanese paper lanterns for $5 a piece. And at
Z Gallerie I found the giant white lacquered bamboo vase, a large white metal Moroccan style lantern, three small white metal lanterns, and two 36" inch white vases that look like bamboo. The napkin rings that look like lobsters, crabs, and octopus are so fun! They're quite large and will add a little character to the table. Plus they're white color will look great next to the fuscia napkins.

The sterling silver flatware was my great grandmother's whose last name was Smith. Her S monogram works perfectly for me today as a Segerstrom. The white dinner ware is just a good old Cost Plus standby I use when I have buffets for a crowd. The metallic silver lacquered chargers were a Christmas gift from my mom which I love. If I use the Foo dogs, they're grayish tone will pick up the silver color of the chargers.

For flowers and greenery I found some fuscia gladiolas, green horsetails, and blue delphiniums. I also have some beautiful olive topiary in mossy clay pots. They're not Chinese but remember Chinoiserie style historically has French influences, so it works. Besides, I've never been one to follow museum rules of all one style.
You can see the bamboo style vases in the picture at left. The table setting committee requested we have a water pitcher and I have two. One beautiful Waterford pitcher and one simple silver pitcher. I won't know which to use until I'm done with my practice run.  I'll set up a mock table in the living room and plan it all out. When I have it perfectly planned, I'll take photos and replicate it at the site. 

Apparently someone ran out of silver polish a few years ago, but the Waterford is sparkling. It's pretty but very heavy and hard to manage when filled with water. No matter. Today we are putting beauty before function. I found some bamboo stakes at a garden store and I'm thinking the little metal bamboo lanterns will look smashing pinned to the tops of the stakes, especially with candlelight. I love using natural materials in my table arrangements. I typically top off florals with some type of excelsior or fresh fruit or vegetables. I will share my finished table setting after the May 22nd tea.


1 16 oz. can garbanzo beans
2 garlic cloves, chopped fine
1 tsp. ground cumin
juice of 1/2 small Meyer lemon
1/4 C. plus, extra virgin olive oil
freshly ground sea salt

Place beans, garlic, cumin, and lemon juice in a food processor or blender. Puree well. With motor running, add olive oil in dribbles. Adjust olive oil to desired consistency. Stir in sea salt. Hummus should be thick but not dry. Serve with tortilla chips, pita bread, or celery. Delicious and high in protein. So much better than the store bought brands. 

Weekends at a Spanish Craftsman Style House

I am often surprised by how different my design projects turn out. They're different because each of my clients is different: different interests, different architecture, different geography, different tastes in color and style.  If you look at Charlene's place (see the entry just before this one) next to Leonora's you'll see a very different look though they share some similar elements: slip covered sofas, slip covered dining room chairs, fabric window treatments on custom rod and rings, wicker, and original artwork.

Leonora and Randall are SF residents during the week, but like me they travel to Sonora on the weekends for some much needed fresh air and sunshine.  They love the local farmer's market, the old town flavour, the trees, the neighboring wine country, the mountains, the outdoor concerts, the beautiful summer nights...I could keep going. It really is a beautiful place to be.

I first met Leonora at one of my design stores. She came in on a Saturday morning with her sister. I remember I had been up all night re-merchandising the store with new shipments. It looked warm and inviting. That building was my third location and was built in the 1850's.  When Leonora and I had exchanged greetings she asked if I knew of anyone who could help her with design services and I said I did indeed. She told me where her new home was located and I knew exactly which one she was referring to. I was so thrilled! 

The architecture of Randall and Leonora's home is quite unique. It's Spanish Colonial I believe, built about ten or twelve years ago by master craftsmen, many of them Irish.  It's full of architectural details such as rough hewn beams, imported tile for the roof, and hand stenciling but not the overly sweet kind we often see. It has numerous skylights throughout the house and guest quarters. All the doors, windows, and hardware are custom. 

The house had very little furniture to begin with. As I mentioned in a previous blog entry, I used it's rusticity and pale blue green kitchen cabinets as my starting point. Once that was established the rest was easy. This is one of my favorite projects because I dearly love the character and placement of the house.  The sofa and club chair are slip covered in a pale blue cotton canvas. I don't usually do solid colored fabrics on sofas. I prefer the ease of prints because they don't show every little spot and hair the way solids do. But this couple's daughter Renata is grown and out of the house. They have no pets at the moment. Their sweet dog Enis passed away a few months ago but even then he wasn't on the furniture.  So I bent my rule on solid fabric sofas.

I have enjoyed some special dinners at Leonora and Randall's. I especially love eating out on their patio with it's outdoor fireplace. The hot tub looks so pretty lit up at night with it's little fountain burbling away. They always serve good wine and healthy food.

Local artwork is seen in several rooms in the house and the area rugs came from the previous owner who sells them in SF. The slipper chairs were slip covered in a subtle brown floral with welts and ties matching the sofa fabric. The dining room table has latch on extensions and hidden drawers. The wood is mahogany. The side chairs have rush backs and seats. The color of the oversize tile is a buff or sand color...really pretty with the plaster walls and woodwork.

Leonora is so passionate about her home in the country. I love that she gets so much joy from being there. They have a great cherry tree in the back yard, lots of olive trees, and a beautiful pomegranate in the front.  I am very fortunate that Leonora chose me to be her designer. I have enjoyed a wonderful friendship with both her and hubby Randall. David and I had dinner recently with them when Leonora's nephew was visiting from Mexico.  My only regret is because I live nearby, it's unlikely I'll ever get to stay in the guest house!

OMG BBQ Chicken- I adapted this recipe from an old Jane Butel cook book. My mom came to visit for the Mother's Day weekend and David and I fixed it for the three of us Saturday after the Mother Lode Round Up Parade. The Golden Regiment rocked us as usual!

six chicken breasts, skinned and boned (better for soaking up flavors)
2 13 oz. cans tomato sauce
1 C. catsup
6 oz. dark beer
4 oz. soy sauce
4 oz. white wine vinegar
cumin, mild red chili power, and dry mustard to taste
Liquid Smoke or Wright's Hickory Flavoring
4 to 5 T. roasted chopped garlic (comes in a jar, can be found in most produce sections)

Simmer all ingredients in a large saucepan for about 30 minutes. It will reduce and thicken very slightly. Place chicken in an oblong baking dish covered well with sauce. You can add a little extra roasted chopped garlic in between the folds of the chicken breasts. Let sit in the fridge for at least an hour. Bar-b-Que as usual adding extra sauce mid way. You can store the bar-b-Que sauce indefinitely in the fridge but be sure to discard any sauce that came in contact with raw chicken.


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