Saturday, March 6, 2010

Somewhere Between Practical and Elegant


I often struggle with taking time for intricate details. My tendency for practical efficiencies causes me to not always appreciate the beauty that can come from a little time and attention.

This weekend I helped host a shower for K, one of my many friends who is pregnant. Curtis was working all evening in the ER (a current trend that finds us sharing only the hours we are asleep), and I volunteered to help her mother-in-law with the preparations.

Kathy runs a local bed and breakfast and has a flair for hospitality that never feels pretentious, but is always laden with beautiful details. I arrived at the house to find a bucket full of fresh baby’s breath, kermit mums, daisies and roses. I had brought along four dozen large strawberries to dip and decorate in chocolate, and together we worked and talked and laughed for hours.

Somewhere between spraying chocolate all over the floor, snacking on smoked Gouda, and looking at pictures on the internet for inspiration we ended up with beautiful flower arrangements—complete with asparagus and corsage pins—and exquisite deserts.

When I arrived the next morning, the detail arrangement continued with bows around lacy napkins, holding baby’s breath and daisies. The water glasses were garnished with fresh raspberries, and the dessert serving platters were layered with fresh ferns.

There was very little about the occasion that was practical, but I found that it didn’t really bother me...even when we had to hand wash nearly one hundred pieces of china. Every piece had come together to create a beautiful celebration of life and hope for the future.

I was grateful just to have been a part of it.



  1. Beautiful pictures (I want to see more) and what an elegent shower! I think about this concept pretty often as I approach my role as homemaker, and just life in general. There's the temptation (and sometimes the need) to do things bare bones and on a shoe string. Meals that take hours to prepare can be consumed in a matter of minutes. But my mom has passed down from her mom (and so on...) the belief that things should be done beautifully, that they should be done well, the finishing touches, the last 2 percent...these are the things that bring feelings of satisfaction to things that are otherwise duties. Thanks for sharing this. I love your thoughts.

  2. That really is an amazing spread...and who doesn't love a little smoked gouda?

  3. Ash, this is INSANE !!! I LOVE, love, love the use of asparagus !! I used artichokes as part of a centerpiece recently, with sunflowers, and it worked, too. I can't wait to try this !!!