Outdoor Living Essentials by Kathia Emery

I know summer is coming to a close here in the Northwest, but I think it's never too soon to dream, design, and shop for next year's outdoor living spaces.  So, I'd like to introduce you to my longtime friend and photo client, interior designer Kathia Emery, Emery & Associates.  Kathia has been a wonderful friend and support to Fred and I, for all that we do, for many years...she just keeps on giving.  So, I asked her if she would write a guest post for The White Pear on what she considers the essentials for outdoor living spaces.  Kathia not only knows her stuff,  but she is a joy to work with;  she makes you feel special.  I love her rich, romantic, traditional style, and her use of color to enliven the senses and give a modern twist to furnishings.  Check out her deck of sunny citrus brights… so fun and inviting!

Kathia's deck of sunny citrus brights!  Photo by Fred Stickley

Kathia's deck of sunny citrus brights!  Photo by Fred Stickley

"Essentials for Outdoor Living Spaces" by Kathia Emery, Emery & Associates, Portland, Oregon

Where to start?  First take an inventory of your existing furnishings, and then fill in the holes.  Here are some basic essentials for outdoor living spaces, but it really depends on your lifestyle:

• Seating Furniture:  This could range from a pair of chairs with a garden stool between them, to sofas and coffee tables, if you have a very large deck.  Traditional wicker or teak, with indoor/outdoor fabrics for cushions - classic and timeless.  Or you could opt for metal furniture, designed to withstand the elements, which come in contemporary and traditional designs.  There are so many wonderful indoor/outdoor fabrics now, that you can leave your cushions, pillows, and tablecloths outdoors from May till October with no worries, even in our rainy northwest climate.  Keep in mind, a table skirted with weather-resistant designer fabric gives the perfect continuity between indoors and outdoors.

• Dining Furniture:  I like to mix things up so everything doesn’t match.  My upper deck, as shown in the photo, has two iron benches (one from Europa Antiques); an iron bistro table with two chairs from World Market, that has repainted a variety of colors over the years; a round, 48” vintage table that is always skirted to tie in colors; and four metal dining chairs from Home Depot.  For this season, I chose fun, bright citrus colors of lime, tangerine, and lemon.

• Accessories:  An umbrella (mine is from Kitchen Kaboodle), an indoor/outdoor rug, hurricane lanterns or tiki lamps, and ceramic or weather-resistant planting containers for florals and herbs.  A serving cart or sideboard is useful as well.  I bought mine from Overstock.com.  Just add music, and you’re ready for a party!  Enjoy... ~ Kathia Emery

Holly & Kathia Labor Day Barbecue 2013.  Photo by Fred Stickley

Holly & Kathia Labor Day Barbecue 2013.  Photo by Fred Stickley

If you have any questions for Kathia or myself, please don't hesitate to drop a comment in the comment box below.  Give it a little time to show up; the computer has to think...:)

Enjoy and always love hearing from you.

Till the next time...

Love, Holly ~ Your Queen Bee at The White Pear

 

 

Pam's Blood Orange Margaritas

A few Sunday's past, I celebrated with my girlfriends a significant birthday for one of our Spice girlfriends.  Spice is the 'club' name for this group of girlfriends.  I wasn't around when the term was coined, but I hear it has a torrid past…:)  In light of the recent tragic events that week in Boston, W. Texas, and Bangladesh, the party was perfect timing - a chance to be with loving friends, to laugh, and to share.

I was hoping for a warmer day than 50's and chance of rain… not good.  I kept hesitating to set my cocktail and appetizer table out in the garden, but the light outside was so beautiful - soft, but brilliant.  My other career is architecture photography,  so I'm very sensitive to the look, color, and feel of light.  So, I went for it, cold and all, which is why we're wearing jackets and sweaters in the photo.  I'm not wearing a sweater because I was in denial…:) 

We had a happy, chatty cocktail hour.  Pam, our mixologist, made her famous Blood Orange Margaritas, and Prosecco was the second choice.  The Blood Orange Margaritas were wonderfully delicious, a nice change from the traditional margarita.  Check out Pam's recipe below.  The menu for the lunch included my Mexican Shrimp Salad - great for a summer al fresco main dish - stay tuned for the posting of this recipe.  The grilled chicken and peppers, guacamole as a side dish, (fresh and chunky), and homemade pinto beans were all to-die-for. 

Blood Orange Margaritas and Prosecco!  The Spice Girls minus three, plus Chester the Havanese boy, hangin' with the girls...:)

Blood Orange Margaritas and Prosecco!  The Spice Girls minus three, plus Chester the Havanese boy, hangin' with the girls...:)

After a roaring round of "Happy Birthday," the b-day girl blew out the colorful tall candles that sat on top the assortment of colorful Saint Cupcakes, that sat on top the pedestal plate... very elegant - for cupcakes!  Fresh fruit and Greek yogurt, and more Prosecco, rounded out the perfect dessert.  We were all quite happy choosing which cupcake to eat.  We started splitting them in half, so we could get a taste of all the flavors and keep the not so good carbs down…:)

Take time to enjoy your friends and to write down significant times spent together, because those memories do tend to fade as we get older.  Good friends are so meaningful to living a full life, because sharing is what it is all about.

I'd like to share with you a recipe for Pam's Blood Orange Margaritas.

For approximately 8 servings.  Make a sweet and sour mix in this proportion:
Juice of 8 medium Blood Oranges
Juice of 4 plump limes
1 cup cranberry orange juice

The key is in the juice of the fruit, as it varies in amount and sweetness, so taste test to your liking.

For one grande or 2 smaller cocktails, mix in a shaker the following proportions:
2 shots of the sweet and sour mix
3 shots of tequila

Shake and serve over ice.  If you like salt with your traditional margarita, a blood orange margarita is also delicious with a rim of salt.  Garnish with lime.  This will make one grande or two smaller servings.  Pour me a Grande!

Anyone else have a special cocktail recipe you'd like to share?  Check out the links at the bottom of this post.  You can comment, like, and share.   Enjoy and always love hearing from you.

Till the next time...

Love, Holly ~ Your Queen Bee at The White Pear