Friday, July 9, 2010

Summer Reading

Well, with the tremendous heat wave we've been experiencing, this has turned out to be my week of summer reading. I stayed in the air conditioned upstairs at our Little Red House, and read three wonderful decorating books, along with some other non-fiction.

My kids gave me At Home with Wedgwood by Tricia Foley. (Actually, I bought it at HomeGoods and told my daughter to wrap it up for Mother's Day. You do that, right?)

It is filled with gorgeous dishes (well, it's Wedgwood, duh!) and settings photographed in the homes of some famous collectors including Carolyne Roehm, Charlotte Moss and Thomas O'Brien. There is also a very interesting history of the company, from the nineteenth century to the present day. The styling and photography are incredible. For a dishaholic like me, this is a must read. :)

I also found Tablescapes, by Kimberly Schlegel Whitman, in HomeGoods. The author is the founder of RSVP Soiree, which is a "special events company."

There are some huge, elaborate catered parties here, but also some really wonderful smaller tablescapes, especially this beautiful jadeite setting (above).

And finally, Laying the Elegant Table, by Ines Heugel. This one is filled with chapters on plates, stemware, flatware, accessories, etc.

There are wonderful photographs and histories for many of the major historic manufacturers whose designs are sought after as antiques today. Just the photos of soup tureens alone had me drooling. And will you look at these English silver-plated fruit knives (above). Aren't they gorgeous? :)

So, that was a little of my summer reading this week. I found all these books at HomeGoods or TJMaxx for a considerable discount off the retail prices. This is not a solicited or paid review. Just think of it as a public service announcement for those of you who love dishes and tablescaping. :)


  1. Hi Mary

    Great books you have been reading and of couse as an Englishwoman I am proud of Wedgewood and also the English fruit knives!!!

    I never look at the books in TK Maxx, I must do that one day next week when passing.( Funny how there is a slight change in the name here)!!

    I am having a give away for my 60th birthday and although you are not a follower of my blog, I would love it if you would enter it as a friend of mine through MM. I am being a bit selective as I don't want people to enter it just for the free gift!!

    Have a great weekend, keep cool, see you Monday, Jackie in UK.

  2. I love finding out what bloggers read out there. I have often discovered a really good book that way. Tablescapes looks like the one for me!
    Have a lovely weekend
    Isabelle x

  3. Looks like a great read and filled with wonderful ideas. Thanks for sharing! Glad you stayed cool this week...even in this 100 degree weather the kids still wanted to go to the pool, just shortened our time there! Hopefully next week brings us some weather back in the 80's! We can hope right?

  4. Oh.. lovely to be inspired by decor books.. The highlighted books are lovely.. :-)

  5. Isn't it so relaxing to curl up with a good book full of inspiration?! You definitely picked good ones. I have been reading all week as well to beat the heat; fiction, but still wonderful reads!

    Have a great weekend!

  6. What wonderful books. With the weather you are experiencing I would be staying indoors too

  7. I agree with you that reading is a GREAT pastime when it is so hot. I have been doing my share of it the past two weeks. Thank goodness a heavy, thunderous, lightning-filled rain came down a good portion of last night...YEAH!!!!! The pictures you took of your books are beautiful and a real treat to view. Tomorrow is Saturday so a happy weekend to you and all. Hugs, Genie

  8. Beautiful books and subjects. If I go out it is early in the AM but it has been a good reading time for me also. It finally rained last night and it is still raining. It was so dry and humid this is an answer to a prayer. Blessings

  9. I love the books. I never look for books when in Home Goods. I will have to start doing that. Carla

  10. These are the best kinds of books to buy at TJ Maxx and similar stores because the regular retail price is pretty steep. But aren't they fun to browse through? I love Wedgwood Jasperware - I have a small pitcher that my grandmother was given as a wedding gift.

  11. Ooooo... lovely books! I am a home dec book nutter -- love them! But it's been so hot and I've been inside so much lately that I have actually read FICTION!

    With no pretty pictures. Ah, having withdrawal . . . where's my Nina Campbell and Charles Faudre when I need them?


  12. What great books! I would love to peek in each and get some needed decorating ideas for my home! I just got the 2010 Christmas Southern Living book in the mail this week and can't wait to sit back, relax and explore all the great holiday recipes and ideas it has to offer. I have a book a friend loaned me at the beginning of summer called "The Help" that I have to read first. Anita

  13. Dear Mary,

    You have done a kind service in posting about these. I've seen them flit by my eyes with a quick sigh but had never, actually, looked closely. I LOVE Tricia Foley and adore Catherine Calvert's writing. (She had me in tears with her essay in Victoria Magazine this past January and I reread her old essays, in the same, all of the time.)

    I LOVE tablescapes! and there it is...

    Love, katy

  14. Dear Mary, I haven't said anything but think that I should after all. Two mosaic Mondays ago, I was very late in getting my post up. It was the first time that I played on the creative modes on my camera. I was # 105 - ferns and gesnariads. I mentioned you a little more especially than usual and I know that "In a Soft Light" received a new and lovely follower from it - Nicola from "September Cottage." Nicola just got a new camera, too, and was the one who put me on the trail of my nice but affordable Canon450d. She's a budding photographer, too, and such a lovely woman! Anyway, my photographic learning curve is so steep that I, already, look at *most* of the photos that I took a week ago as a bit shallow (not all of them, though =]). The mosaic, though, I spent HOURS on it with my sister (artist) coaching me. It all started from an hour and a half session of appreciating your lovely photos on "In a Soft Light". After all that work, I"m still struggling to live up to one of your simple and lovely mosaics. =] I'm still pretty proud of it, though. Anyway, that's what's up with me in that direction. No reply required, okay?

    The weather, though still hot, is MUCH better, today. I hope it's easing up a little bit for you, too! Yesterday was brutal - 100s in the sun and OVER 90% humidity! WOW!

    Love, Katy

  15. wow mary way to deal with the heat!! i'm thrilled to have these references to give my daughter. she will love them. thank you!! keep reading and suggesting to us.:) jkj

  16. Katy, how did I miss your beautiful mosaic?! You are doing a wonderful job with that new camera! Have fun and take tons of pics. :)

  17. I am always blown away by your beautiful pics!!

    Susan and Bentley

  18. We broke heat records here in RI this week too...didn't get much of anything done here...if I tried to read I just fell asleep:)

    I frequently look at the books if I go to TJMaxx or Homegoods...and I think you got the better goods down in NJ: We don't get anything half as nice as this...I'll keep looking! Thanks for sharing your finds with us...gorgeous! ...Especially that Jadite photo...I collect Jadite...or did when it was cheap:)

  19. I seriously need all of those books. Lovely photographs too. Those fruit knives are incredible!

  20. Lovely books to peruse while listening to sweet music and sipping something cold and delicious. (I can't believe that you needed any help in this area of tablescaping, though.)

  21. Thanks for your comment, Mary. You took such great photos of these books, btw! Is is still 101 degrees?

  22. Actually, it was in the 80's today and rainy. Humid but not that unbearable 101. :)

  23. Here's the weather report from Normandy: cooler today than it has been all week, but "sticky" if you know what I mean?
    I'm staying indoors with my new, 10 euro, table top fan and reading. Bliss!
    Thanks for the book references I'll look out for them next time we're in Hilton Head, the TJ's there is quite good.

  24. It is interesting to read seems. I love your blog a lots.


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