Monthly Archives: August 2011

Why I want to bring silver back

table setting

I’m writing this post 13,000 feet in the air en route to Kansas City for a business trip. As I work, I admire the sleekness of the ultra-thin keyboard, the lightness and modern convenience of my iPad, and marvel at how futuristic these tools would have seemed just five years ago. It also strikes me that the very technology I’m using to write this post will be obsolete and lying in a recycling pile (or worse) in three years’ time. We live today in a throw-away society, where we purchase things with the understanding and casual acceptance that it will be tomorrow’s trash.

My husband and I recently celebrated our ninth wedding anniversary. Reflecting on that lovely day and the wonderful time we had with friends and family, I found myself looking around my home, appreciating the generous wedding gifts we had received and silently thanking the sender…the large wine goblets from my co-workers…several beautiful vases…my favorite soup pot from a foodie friend…the wine bar that sits in our living room.

But it struck me how many of the items for which we had registered and received were no longer around. The spice grinder had long since stopped working. The coffee pot had to be replaced last year. The towels are on their last stringy legs. It made me realize the possible folly of my registering for everyday, common items. By doing so, I had practically guaranteed that many of my wedding gifts wouldn’t last past the first decade of my marriage. I know that I am not alone in doing so; many of my friends who have gotten married in the past few years were registered at popular houseware or “mega” stores…all for nice or useful things, but not things that were likely to last. For the same amount of money spent, we could have had something that we could pass down to future generations.

I think back to the days when gifts for major milestones – births, graduations, marriages – were designed to last for a lifetime (and them some). The idea that an old woman could pick up a tarnished silver soup ladle – now with a silky patina – and recall her excitement at unwrapping the shiny item as a young bride and the thousands of bowls of soup that she has since lovingly served greatly appeals to me.

What gifts do we give now? Countless plastic items to newborns. Technology to graduates. Trendy kitchen gadgets to newlyweds. I want to bring back the tradition of giving gifts that are meant to not only last throughout the lifetime of the recipient, but will become treasured heirlooms for the next generation. The items we leave behind when we are gone tell our story…whether it is my grandmother’s watch, Paul Revere’s Sons of Liberty bowl, or the Mildenhall Treasure…and they are cherished connections to the past for the current generation.

That’s why I want to bring silver back.


Jefferson cups

It was during a monogram challenge from Silver Magpies that I first learned of Jefferson cups. These cups, usually made of pewter, silver plate, or sterling, are replicas of eight silver plated cups that Thomas Jefferson had custom made by melting existing sterling that he owned. They have a nice weight to them, fit beautifully in the palm of your hand, and are perfect for anything served at room temperature.

We now have three of them and I can’t wait for the first snowy evening, when I’ll serve a small shot of Blanton’s bourbon and sip it from my porch in a Jefferson cup!


Capturing Summer in a Bottle

As the days get shorter (but not any cooler yet!), I find myself trying to make the summer season last as long as it can. Though we didn’t get to travel to the beach this summer, I have tons of seashells in various closets left over from visits home to Coastal Georgia, Key West, Boca Raton, and California.

shells in bottleThe other day, I soaked an old Blanton’s bourbon bottle to get rid of the labels, then filled it with sand and shells from our various travels. I love that it combines equestrian and the coast…two of my favorite themes!

Far Niente

“Sweet idleness”

Having worked several weekends this summer and to celebrate my husband’s 40th birthday, we insisted on some downtime this weekend. After a celebratory brunch this morning, we grabbed our favorite books and magazines and headed down to our pool for some much needed far niente. It’s amazing when you force yourself to do nothing how your worries start to flat-line and your entire stance relaxes.

book cover One of the books I’m reading right now is Encyclopedia of the Exquisite: An Anecdotal History of Elegant Delights. Full of fun & history, my favorite articles so far have been Kimono, Moritsuke (the Japanese art of beautifully arranged food), the Pouf hairstyle (popularized by Marie Antoinette), and, of course, Far Niente.

This evening, my present to my husband is an eight-course dinner and wine pairing at the Molly Brown House Museum, honoring the 99th anniversary of the launching of the fated Titanic. The staff will be in period costume. It should be fun!

molly brown house


One night at the Peabody Hotel in Memphis: $205.

Cough medicine so that you can make it through facilitating a 2-day workshop: $6.

Reconnecting with family, staying at the hotel where your grandparents honeymooned, and finding your own hand prints in the concrete at your grandparents’ former house from when you were three years old…priceless!