Sunday, January 24, 2010

 In my next life I want to come back as an f.o.i ~ friend of Ina. I became a friend wanna-be after tuning into to The Barefoot Contessa one night while making dinner. She is preparing a lovely surprise dinner for friends returning that evening from an antique buying trip to London. A florist friend is joining in on the surprise by adorning the table with fresh flowers, filling a bowl with seasonal fruit and the best of all, preparing the fireplace with firewood so that with a touch of the match they enjoy dinner by a roaring fire. Now, that's a gift! I would love to be a guest at one of Ina's dinner parties. The parties always include such an artistic and interesting gathering of close friends in the most attractive and welcoming vistas. For my friend's birthday, I plan to include a handwritten recipe card for The Barefoot Contessa's Lemon Mousse, a jar of lemon curd (a key ingredient from the recipe), and an antique coin silver spoon engraved with my friend's initials.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Something Old

The gift of old silver is always well-received. The coin silver spoon above was a gift from my mother and bears my initials ~ AW. She presented it to me, tied with the delicate ribbon, not for my birthday, but just because! I plan to use it as a sugar spoon or to serve preserves at breakfast or cranberry sauce at Thanksgiving. The best time to find these special gifts is when you are not looking. Next time you are on the hunt at a local antique show, fair or flea market, browse through the old coin silver looking at the monograms to see if they match any of your good friends. Amazingly, you can pick up an old spoon like the one above for as little as $5. Two patterns that I am always looking for that are "Basket of Flowers" and "Sheaf of Wheat." They usually run about $45-$65 each.
A set of six basket of flowers coin silver spoons from Phyllis Tucker Antiques.

The Art of the Gift

Not one, not two but five of my best friends and my 25 year old niece are celebrating their birthdays next week. Last year, a special friend hosted a luncheon in my honor. It was lovely! Engraved invitations, a homemade meal, fine china and silver and of course, a birthday cake with candles. Today, in our hurried life, we don't stop often enough to do things the old-fashioned way ~handwritten, in our home, homemade without paper and plastic. So this year I have been on a secret mission to uncover all of my friends birthdays and pay it forward.