Charming and Comfortable Hotel Tardif in Bayeux, France

This gorgeous courtyard leads to the main entrance.

Hôtel Tardif, Noble Guesthouse in Bayeux, France

gets my vote as the most charming place I’ve ever stayed!

Hubby and I arrived in Bayeux early in the morning after crossing the English Channel on a ferry. Friends had recommended Hôtel Tardif (shout out to Deb and Dave) and, right away, owner Anthony Voidie welcomed us, answered our questions, and even had our room prepared earlier than anticipated. After a delicious breakfast (think crêpes, croissants, and amazing coffee), we were ready to explore the town. But wait, there was so much to see in the guest house and grounds. Hubby had to convince me to leave since I was enamored of the decorating details and, hon, you know I love details! The fireplace, the fabrics, the fresh flowers…oh so lovely!

From the hotel’s website:

 Enjoy the priviledge of a stay in a  historic monument dating of the 18th century, in the heart of  medival Bayeux.

   Our guest house of charm is nestled in the former park of the botanist Moisson de Vaux, where many species like Magnolias were first acclimated in Europe. A peaceful location, between the Bayeux Tapestry museum, the cathedral, many restaurants bars and shops.

If you want more autonomy you can also opt for one of our  furnished tourism accomodation located on the street.

  You can easily reach the famous landing beaches, Omaha Beach, Arromanches, the Caen Memorial, Honfleur, Le Mont-Saint-Michel.

     This private mansion reflects a glorious past with its wood paneling, fireplaces in marble, a remarkable staircase, some rare centuries old trees …  

 

Spring Bouquets

Who doesn’t love a bouquet?

We were at an event where every table had a different bouquet and, of course, I had to absorb the colors and combinations. The two arrangements below are nestled in DIY Woodsy Centerpieces. Bendable twigs, vines and branches are wrapped around glass vases. The branches-wrapped-vases sit on thick slabs of wood. Simple. Woodsy. Pretty.

“Is the spring coming?” he said. “What is it like?”…
“It is the sun shining on the rain and the rain falling on the sunshine…”
Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden

Dream Writing Studio/Living Area

Barn built in 1882.

Hon, you know I love to write, right?

What better place to work on my writing than in my barn? One little problem…it’s not furnished. When Hubby and I bought our Historic Victorian, it came with this barn, which had a horse stall, hayloft and a wrought iron track from which a sliding door hung. In the years since, the wheels on the track rusted, the horse stall walls rotted, and the hayloft window was nailed shut. We’ve reappointed the stone foundation, but the main floor would need a ton of TLC to make it my…

Dream Writing Studio/Living Area

The studio would have a writing area, living area, and powder room. When it gets warmer, maybe I’ll share a “design board” for my fantasy beach house.

Thanks for indulging me!

Do you have a dream living space? What would you use it for?

Sources:  Arhaus, Pottery Barn, Ralph Lauren Home, Restoration Hardware, Schumacher, One King’s Lane, Refresh Living

Creative Cupcakes (Little Shop of Horrors)

A Sun Star plant along with Brussels sprouts and cabbages welcome theatre goers. "Audrey II's" and photo care of my friend Lynn.
A Sun Star plant along with Brussels sprouts and cabbages welcome theatre goers. “Audrey II’s” and photo care of my friend Lynn.

LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS + CAST PARTY = AN AWESOME THEME

Hon, you know how I love a theme?  

There’s someone who loves themes even MORE THAN ME!

I asked Lynn, mom of “Seymour” in our middle school’s production of the macabre musical Little Shop of Horrors, to show me how to work with fondant. We tag-teamed baked and decorated 100 cupcakes for the cast party.  My Plus-One (as in Triplets Plus One) was an Urchinette.  She wore a gold sequined dress and teased hair (shout out to Emma’s grandma) to Doo-Wop her heart out along with the other Urchins.  The cast and crew’s hard work paid off.

The show was excellent!  Our kids were stars!  What fun!

Creative Cupcakes

Here’s how we made edible “Audrey II’s,” the mysterious man-eating plant in LSOH.

Step 1.  Gather your ingredients.  Rather than make fondant from scratch, we used Fondarific. Supplies included cake mix, baking cups, canned icing, Wilton icing, food coloring, rubber gloves, romaine lettuce, spoons,wax paper, Wilton Decorating Bags and Tips, Swedish Fish candy and Cake Boxes.

Icing and Fondarific.
Icing and Fondarific.
Baking cups and food coloring.
Baking cups and food coloring.

 

 

 

 

 

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Step 2.  Prepare fondant decorations.  After the Fondarific was warmed and softened, rubber gloves were donned, and food coloring was mixed in by hand.  Small balls of fondant were pressed onto spoons. Then romaine leaves rubbed onto fondant created leaf impressions.  After carefully lifting fondant leaves off of spoons, they were layered with wax paper and left to set.  (I put them in a container covered with foil, not refrigerated, overnight.)  The leaves needed to be stiff enough to stand up, but pliable enough to form LSOH’s man-eating plant.

Add food coloring to icing and softened fondant.
Soften fondant.  *Put on rubber gloves BEFORE blending food color into it.
Form leaves--or whatever shape you want--and let them set a bit.
Form leaves–or whatever shape you want–and let them set.

 

 

 

 

 

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Step 3.  Bake cupcakes according to package directions. Food coloring was also mixed with vanilla canned icing then spread on cooled cupcakes.  Icing the cupcakes kept them fresh while the fondant leaves set overnight and formed a base to work on.

Bake cupcakes.
Bake cupcakes.
Ice cupcakes once they've cooled.
Ice cupcakes once they’ve cooled.

 

 

 

 

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Step 4.  Assemble Audrey II’s (or whatever decoration goes with your theme).  Lynn said that, though the canned icing was good for a base, the stiffer Wilton icing made better leaves surrounding the “plants” and fangs on the Audrey II’s.  She used Wilton Tip #103 to form surrounding leaves and Tip #4 for the fangs.  Mini Swedish Fish candies became tongues.  Eww and yum!

Assemble cupcake decorations.
Assemble cupcake decorations.

IMG_7206

 

"Whatever you do, don't feed the plants!"
“Whatever you do, don’t feed the plants!”
Headed to the cast party.
Cupcakes with bite!

 

Cast and crew.
Cast and crew.

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Have you ever worked with fondant?  Did you find it easy or hard to use?  What did you make?  Thanks for sharing!

DIY Clean-Lines Centerpiece

DIY Centerpiece
DIY Clean-Lines Centerpiece

Last month, Hubby and I hosted a big family event.  Hon, you know what I love about a party besides celebrating happy occasions with friends and family?  The theme!  I love coordinating colors and carrying the theme through the details. It fires up my imagination.

Since the theme of the party was Broadway shows, the Manhattan skyline became a design element on the favors, large scale decorations and the centerpieces. I created the vessels and then handed them off to florist Kristen Carlberg*, who brought my vision of happy, bright, colorful bouquets to life.  I must give a shout out to my good friend, Ina Wallman*.  Not only does she have an exquisite eye for design, she helped me focus my many ideas into one cohesive plan.

Each table was set with cream tablecloths and fuchsia napkins.  Round tables featured one larger (6 inches by 6 inches) centerpiece while larger oval tables featured three smaller (5 inches by 5 inches) centerpieces, lined up in a row.

*If you are interested in getting in touch with florist, Kristen Carlberg or interior designer, Ina Wallman, please leave a comment or email me at bmoreenergy@gmail.con and we’ll exchange contact info.

Happy decorating, hon!

Supplies:

–Unfinished wooden boxes. I bought mine at G & G Distributors, a wholesale floral and craft store and website.

–White paint.  I used leftover water-based wall paint, semi-gloss.

–Paintbrushes or foam brushes.

–Drop cloth.

–Decorations to wrap around the boxes.

–Varnish, optional. (I didn’t varnish the boxes, but wish I did.  Water-based paint tends to run when water touches it.)

–Glass inserts for flowers and water. The florist supplied these.  She measured the insides of the boxes ahead of time so she’d know what sizes to get.  The unfinished wooden boxes came with thin, plastic liners.  If I was using floral green foam, then the plastic liners might have sufficed, but they wouldn’t hold cut flowers in water.

Steps:

–Gather supplies, including wrap-around stickers or whatever you are using for decorating the boxes.  Hubby has a talent for graphic design so he worked up a Manhattan skyline and ordered the custom-designed stickers an online site.  Or a paper design (not on paper that’s too thin) that coordinates with your theme can be used.  Paper designs can be secured around the perimeter of the boxes using craft glue.

–Measure designs by wrapping them around boxes and cutting them to fit.  They’ll be ready to apply once the boxes are painted and dry.

–Paint boxes and dry thoroughly.

–Apply designs.

–Varnish, optional.

–Add glass inserts and flowers.

–Set your tables and enjoy!

1. Unfinished wooden boxes were painted white with leftover wall paint.
Unfinished wooden boxes were painted with leftover water-based, semi gloss wall paint.
2. Custom-designed stickers were wrapped around each fully-dried, painted box.
Custom-designed stickers were wrapped around each fully-dried, painted box.
Boxes decorated with wrap-around stickers.
Boxes decorated with wrap-around stickers.
Three 5" x 5" boxes were lined up on oval tables. One 6" x 6" box was set in the center of round tables.
Three 5″ x 5″ boxes were lined up on oval tables. One 6″ x 6″ box was set in the center of round tables.
The florist measured the insides of the boxes, so she could pick up the correct sized glass inserts.
The florist measured the insides of the boxes, so she could pick up the correct sized glass inserts.
I love the contrast of the colorful flowers against the white box.
I love the contrast of the colorful flowers against the clean lines of the white box.
Bright, pretty, happy!
Bright, pretty, happy!