There has been a concentrated effort in our home dealing with the color pink. We are soon to begin decorating Lydia's new bedroom. She has voiced her opinion. In fact, she has presented us with several paint chips and all are well steeped in pink. In fact, the favorite pink is officially named Paper Doll.
She has for some time sauntered up to our dining room table with shapes of flowers she likes and either Crayola sketches or photographs of rooms she finds very charming for little girls. Various times she appears wearing large jewelry, scarves, and often multi-colored high heels. I simply refer to her as the very young Dorothy Draper of Rugby.
Draper was a very popular interior decorator from the 1940s and '50's who often included in her decorating bold floral patterns such cabbage rose chintz which would be married with a fantastic accenting spearmint stripe. Shades of inviting pink were her element, and she used it freely in her Regency designs. When guests entered their rooms, the floral tones gave them a welcoming wink that was downright cozy.
Charles Repnow is a freelance writer who lives in Rugby. His column appears on alternate Wednesdays in The Minot Daily News.
She was, without a doubt, the prima donna of the decorating business. Her influence in still enjoyed and admired at the elegant Greenbrier Resort in White Sulphur Springs, W.Va., where she decorated many of the rooms.
When I was a child there were various decorating magazines about our home. We were of the financial influence that when considering decorating, durability was a must. Our fashion statement would have to last through four presidential elections. When we felt the need to redecorate in between, we took it out on the closets by giving them a wild coat of paint and putting some colorful contact paper on their shelves. If this did not please our decorating palette, then it was off to the recreation room where there was a stack of decorating magazines dating from the present to almost back to Dolly Madison.
Living is a performance art that requires you to find your own unique expression. Reading these magazines and soaking up their information did that for me. In one afternoon I could be at the Greenbrier, The White House, a Fifth Avenue apartment, several governors' mansions, plus a copper king's home in Butte, Mont.
When I was in second grade, my parents remodeled their home. This meant a new bedroom for me. I had already been checking out these decorating magazines for a couple of years, and you can bet I wanted a say in how my room was going to be done. Often the trick to expressing oneself is to not cause anyone to feel defensive. So when I started showing my parents pictures of cozy ski resort bedrooms rather than a poster-plastered room, they actually smiled. I further set their minds at ease when I shared with them I would not mind having that oil painting they picked up on their honeymoon at the Black Hills in South Dakota. My dad then resolved that the walls in my bedroom would be paneled in a light birch color precisely resort looking!
When my parents headed off to Schulz's Furniture on Main Street in Washburn, I was along. Among the rolls of carpet was a red wool carpet with abundance of charisma (perfect for my resort looking bedroom), I immediately cast my vote for it. It has worn through 12 presidential elections now, and it was a sensation!
Our bedrooms are a retreat and place where we can relax and often reflect on the adventures and trials of our day. In the confines of these walls, we often pray, read, relax and embrace or detach ourselves from our dreams. It is wise to put a bit of thought and care into your night-time surroundings. What is the last image you see before you shut off your bedroom light? Is it a pile of clothes on the chair, your Bible on the night stand, a stack of inspiring reading, a photograph of your child, perhaps a framed embroidery? For me, it is all the above plus the coziness of a several hundred roses.
Some years ago when Jan and I decorated our bedroom, we selected a vivid yet soothing rose wallpaper. In fact it is the same wallpaper that Lucille Ball had in her bedroom for many years. (I had read about it in one of those decorating magazines!)
Lucy cherished rose wallpaper, and the article gave the pattern number and the company where it could be purchased. Years later, Carol at R and L Decorating in Rugby helped us order it.
Whether the day has been delightful or unpleasant, upon entering the tranquility of our bedroom the gradual letting go of another day comes unpretentiously. The myriad of roses, along with the great inviting round mirror on the 1940s flame wood vanity, pose and toast to the elements of relaxing. Gentle illumination beautifully spills from the looking glass, and its interpretation is equally soft and soothing as moonlight.
Lydia certainly models her parents, and I smile as she takes an early interest in the decorating of her bedroom. We know the mainstay will be the white provincial furniture passed down from her mommy. She also has her heart set on a crown above her bed with large spills of white and pink chiffon. She also loves to think about a canopy beds and the magic they can bring to a room! What little girl doesn't dream about a canopy bed?
I shared with her one of the great American designers, the late Phyllis Morris, who created unique canopy beds. They were dressed so spectacularly they could have walked the red carpet. She became known as the "designer to the stars."
She started her career by selling poodle lamps throughout Los Angeles in a pink Cadillac, no less. She acted on her instinct that people loved something different, and she gave it to them. When first selling her pink poodle lamps she could often been seen wearing a full-length mink coat and pink pedal pusher slacks. Her pink Cadillac convertible had its top down. The front and back seats were filled with pink poodle lamps. Beside her were a couple of real pink-dyed poodles! Her colorful marketing technique, along with her good looks, helped her launch a furniture design career that was most impressive.
We know that Lydia's room will be pink, it will have a canopy of some sort, and that her dolls, purses, play dishes, books and her embroidered evening and morning prayers will all see her little eyelids close.
It is not every day that we get to talk about and enjoy the delight of a canopy above the bed. So with that in mind, let me share with you a recipe that features a vegetable that is not often used. In fact, it can be used as infrequently as the canopy. That is the dear, round Brussels sprouts. I had this soup while on the QE2 and found it to be delicious.
Brussels Sprout Soup
1-1/2 pounds of Brussels sprouts (about 6 cups)
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
2 chicken bouillon cubes, crushed
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon minced dried onion
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Freshly ground pepper
1-1/2 quarts of water
2 egg yolks, slightly beaten
1 cup half and half
Sour cream for garnish
2 cups croutons
Saute Brussels sprouts in butter, in Dutch oven, over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Cook for 15 minutes and reduce heat. Blend in flour, bouillon cubes, salt, onion, nutmeg and pepper. Cook, stirring constantly until smooth. Stir in water gradually and simmer for 50 minutes.
You may select at this time to puree the mixture in small batches in blender and pour back into Dutch oven. I prefer to leave the Brussels sprouts whole.
Mix egg yolks with half and half in small bowl. Stir into soup gradually over low heat stirring until hot. Serve with cloud of sour cream and croutons.