Every year sometime around the fourth of July we make our best effort to organize a big, fat, super-fun time with our dear friends. There are two couples who make the trek from Tennessee to join us at The Country House for bourbon, bocce ball, and BBQ. This is the same group of friends that I made Gravlax Pinwheels and Bourbon-Ginger Beer jello shots for two Summer’s ago. We skipped last Summer for obvious reasons, but all in all it feels really good for the soul to have a yearly tradition like this! In preparation for our house guests, I stocked up on a beautiful collection of white, lavender, and variegated orange-pink Snapdragons. I also bought several bunches of peach colored Gladiolus. As you might recall, all Springtime long I have had a collection of Pussy Willow in a galvanized pot out on the screened in porch. I have become accustomed to the visual height they bring to the room. It was starting to feel too Summery for decorating with Pussy Willow, so I made an arrangement of Gladiolus to take their place while our guests visited.I completely flipped for the color of these flowers. Cantaloupe-Melon-Peach-Lemon yum! I also put an armful of these Gladiolus in the fireplace room. I arranged them in my favorite Baccarat Eye Vase and placed them upon the vintage black lacquer partner desk. No matter what the season, that neutral room always looks perfectly finished with peach or pink color blooms in it! I had some pots of flowers out on the picnic table, but we never got the chance to eat outside during their visit – the mosquitoes have been so terrible because of all the endless wet weather. If it isn’t obvious, the colors I chose were inspired by the color palette from the barn party that we attended last week. Before our guests arrived, I had a vision that each morning we’d spill out of the screened-in-porch onto the patio for our good morning coffee cake at the picnic table. Even after all the talk on this blog about outdoor furniture, we ended up sitting indoors at the farm table or on the screened in porch. We found it just wasn’t worth the mosquito bites to sit outside. I had white snapdragons in mercury glass containers on the screened in porch and in the kitchen. This isn’t a new idea for me, but I repurposed hurricanes from Pottery Barn (I told you about them a few years ago) as flower containers during our friend’s five night visit to Connecticut.I have found that my morning stand-by bakery recipes never get old to our annual house guests. I made good morning coffee cake, and whole wheat muffins with dried cherries, apricots, prunes and raisins. I also made my mom’s recipe for Banana Bread. The dining table was decorated with a series of Wheaton-style colorful glass bottles that I used as bud-vases. This was a good solution as they were nice and low and it didn’t keep anyone from seeing the person across the table from them.Sometimes I have the tendency to make flower arrangements on the dining table too tall. They look great with the scale of the room, until you sit down at the table and can not see over them. I end up having to move them off to the side during dinner time which completely defeats the purpose of having them. As you know, I have a thing for faces. One of my very favorite vases to use in the dining room is by The Yankee Potter. If I am not careful, his flowers can be too tall and he has to be moved off to the side during supper. One of our traditions each time our friends visit is to go kayaking and canoeing on the Housatonic River. Another tradition is a day of antiquing along Route 7. During our day long treasure hunt I stumbled upon this carved face fence post outside a garden store. It should come as no surprise that I totally love this guy. Omgosh, I really liked seeing him guarding the hydrangea patch!After a long day out treasure hunting, I found these vintage garden pots that will live on the screened in porch. I think I may put together a collection of succulents to sit in them -or- maybe a topiary plant of some sort. And what a happy accident that the graphics on the pots are echoed in the pillows that I have on the wicker furniture! I love that. Every guest departed our house in the wee-hours of Monday morning. I washed all the linens and started to clean the house for our next round of house guests. The Mister’s sister and her family are traveling in from California, and they’ll arrive just in time to celebrate the Fourth of July with us. You know what that means? I only have one more day to get menus planned, arrange for new flowers, restock the bar, and shop for groceries!