Wednesday, April 28, 2010

A Bit of Black and White-Tablescape Thursday

     My tablescapes are going to have a different look for the next few months. I switched back to my glass and iron table that usually sits in our dining room. Actually, my living room, dining room and kitchen are all one large space separated by the flooring. The kitchen is tile, the dining room is hardwood and the living room has carpet. I brought in an antique oak table for the winter months, but I really prefer the look of the glass table with the rest of my furniture. We bought it a few years ago at Crate and Barrel and I still like it. It does mean that I will only be setting the table for 4 for a while. I will also have to deal with reflection in the pictures and the area rug under the table.

I decided to set the table for a simple dinner in black and white.

     Please ignore the light reflection in the plate. This is what happens if you wait until after dark to take pictures. I had to have lights on. Oops...sorry. The dinner plates are American Atelier Bianca Leaf, the black salad plates are Walmart and the bowls were a recent purchase from TJMaxx. They are Royal Stafford and I love them. I hope to find a few more pieces. I used round black placemats to finish the look.

     The flatware was a garage sale purchase last weekend. My "across the street neighbor" had a set of 60 pieces for $25. It is Rogers Bros. Adoration from 1930.

     I used my short black dotted glasses and instead of napkins, black and white dishcloths I found at Walmart for $3. I love the added texture.

     I love this time of year because it is so easy to create a centerpiece. I just grabbed my scissors and went out into my yard. My iris are in full bloom, a pop of pink tulip for a little added color and a flowering branch or two all placed in a crystal pitcher. What could be more simple?

This sweet little bird came home with me from Sur la Table.

Add a couple of crystal candlesticks...

My little thrifted porridge bowl...

...and dinner is served, please join me!

Please visit Susan @ Between Naps on the Porch to see all of this weeks beautiful tables.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Topiaries, Flowers and Mickey...Oh My!

     My family is a bit strange. People who know us have said that they thought the fact that in the midst of sadness and worry, the four of us spending a day at Epcot and the Magic Kingdom seemed perfectly normal. I'm not sure what strangers would think, but I also don't care. My kids grew up going to Disney almost every year. When your parents live in Florida, there is generally time for a few days with Mickey Mouse on the way home from a visit. Because of all those trips, my daughter now works for Disney. We flew my son down to see my mom for a few days a couple of weeks ago. We also wanted to see our daughter again before heading for home. On one of the days my son was in Sarasota, we drove to Orlando to spend the day with my daughter. We could have spent the day sitting around crying and looking at each other...but, that isn't what my mom would want us to do. She and my dad have spent countless days "doing Disney" with us. The kids actually had a good time together and my husband and I enjoyed doing something as a family. It had been 5 years since we had a "vacation" with all four of us. There were moments where one of us would start thinking of my mom and cry, but there were also many moments where we laughed and remembered past trips. The thing that made me the happiest is that my mom understood when we got back to the hospital where we had been and that we'd had a good time. She smiled and gave us the thumbs up!

I am linking for the first time to Outdoor Wednesday. Our hostess is Susan @ A Southern Daydreamer. Please take a moment and visit her today.

Just a Little Show and Tell...Table Top Tuesday

     So many bloggers are really good at sharing all parts of their homes with us. I realized recently that I haven't done as much of that as most of you. I don't know why that is. I guess I'm a little private and very eclectic in my style. I'm one of those "less is more" people, so I don't have every space filled with wonderful things. I also lean a bit more contemporary than many of my fellow bloggers. However, I am adding touches of things I've never used before after seeing so many of your beautiful homes. I also love anything related to the sea, as you might have noticed in my laundry room redo yesterday...there are shells and little bits of "beach" scattered all through my home. I have new furniture mixed with antique family pieces and my only decorating rule is to use things that make me happy.

     Right now, this sterling tray is making me happy. I used it in my tablescape last week and I simply didn't want to put it away. So, I decided to try it on my library table. The table belonged to my grandparents and it sits at the top of the open staircase that leads to our basement. I added my Willow Tree angel, a gift from my parents. You can see she is listening to the sea in her conch shell, a sprig of azalea seemed to soften the look of the candleholders which I purchased a few years ago in Charleston, SC.

     I wanted to show you the rest of the table. Sometimes I use a runner on it, but in general I like it without. The sculpture piece was also purchased in Charleston at the same time as the candlesticks. The pottery vase in the center of the table I just bought at an art show in Florida. I haven't decided what to put in it yet, or if I will leave it as is. I may even move it off this table entirely, not sure yet. I'm thinking that maybe the tall piece should be near the wall with the tray on the opposite end. I need to look at this for a while.

     The vase has a bit of an interesting story. The artisan show in Sarasota was a large one. There were many artists and several of them sold pottery. We actually went the first weekend I was in Florida and truthfully, my heart wasn't in it...but, I needed to get away from the hospital for a while. My sister was also in town at the same time. We both went to the show at different times and met back at the hospital later. She told me she only bought one thing, as shopping just wasn't something we felt like doing. When she said she bought a piece of pottery, I knew what had happened. Out of all of the booths, all of the pottery artists...we picked the same one, the same pattern. Her vase is round, mine is tall...sisters think alike!

     I also wanted to show you my new canister set. MY HUSBAND BOUGHT IT! Now this might not be an unusual thing at your house...but, at mine this is big news. On our way home from Florida we stopped at Cracker Barrel and I stopped briefly at the display that was all beach related. As I headed for the restroom I said to him, "cool canisters on the beach table" just in passing. When I came out of the restroom, he said he bought them. My kitchen really doesn't have blue in it, but because most things in it are coffee/cappuccino related, using a color works. When I asked my husband what made him buy a canister set (I haven't had one for decades) he said he liked it. He liked the way the starfish matched other things in the house. My blog is having an effect on my strange, but aren't they pretty?

     Marty @ A Stroll Thru Life is our hostess for Table Top Tuesday. Take a moment to visit her, it is a great place to get ideas for little vignettes for your home.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Laundry Room Makeover-Met Monday

     We started a redo in our laundry room before I left for Florida. I finally put some of the finishing touches in place this weekend. I'm am really embarrassed to show the before picture. I knew it looked cluttered and knowing that we were getting ready to empty the room, I hadn't done my regular organizing for a while. But, my husband took the picture before he started painting and I was horrified at how it looked. Oh well, that is the point of Met Monday isn't it? Our house was built in the late 90's. It is a ranch with a finished basement. The laundry room is off of the kitchen. The shelves above the washer/dryer caught the overflow of large kitchen items, light bulbs and cleaning supplies.

I didn't even realize the energy sticker was still on my washer until I saw it in the picture. Duh.

We painted the room a dark taupe (my signature color in my house),
added cherry cabinets and a little shelf over the laundry sink.

     The items on top of the cabinets are my big mixing bowl that won't fit inside the cabinet, a recipe box that belonged to my paternal grandmother and a Fiesta coffee server that belonged to my maternal grandmother. The pulls on the cabinet doors are scallop shells.

     We found the cabinet at HomeGoods and the bottles were from a little shop in Florida. You can't really see that they have a starfish and a seahorse in tin around their necks. The laundry sign I ordered before I left from Darlene at her etsy shop, The Back Porch Shoppe. Don't you love it?

     I had this black iron fence piece with no place for it to live. So, a bit of paint and a little crafty stuff add to the end wall. I don't love my crafty WASH word very much, but it will do for now.

     We left the hanging rack on the other side of the room. I put very few of my clothes in the dryer, so a place to hang things is a must for me. Oops...see the dog leash?

     We discussed putting in a "real" sink and vanity, but opted to leave the utility sink instead. This is where we bath the dog, rinse out paintbrushes and wash our hands after playing in the dirt. It is a laundry room after all and the door is shut most of the time. In the case of the sink, function before style.

Please join Susan @ Between Naps on the Porch for Met Monday. I am always so impressed with the projects that my fellow bloggers are able to accomplish.

Friday, April 23, 2010

My Mom's Favorite Fruit Salad-Foodie Friday

     This is one of my favorite pictures, and I don't have favorite pictures with me in them. You are looking at 3 women who hate having their picture taken and avoid it at all costs. The conversation when I had this photo framed for my mom, daughter and I covered the fact that my daughter really does have beautiful long blonde hair that just happened to be pulled into a ponytail after a day at the pool, my mom really isn't "fat" and I actually do stand up straight under normal conditions. With all of that said, we loved having a chance to get a picture of all 3 generations at once. So, you are getting a rare glimpse of an online photo of I don't look like you thought I did? Hmm?

     I told you that I would be telling you about my mother this week. I've thought about it quite a bit and I really think that I will just paint a bit of a verbal picture of the woman I love more than life. I could make it brief and tell you that she lives on a beautiful little island in Florida, famous for the powder sugar beach. She plays bridge, shops at Talbots and has traveled to wonderful places. She writes thank you notes for everything, loves to entertain and raised her 2 daughters to be both polite and proper adults. Those are some of the facts, but they don't really tell you much about my mom.

     My mom lives for her children and grandchildren. Actually, the grandkids are really her loves these days. She is their biggest fan, even when their parents might be having a hard time with them. They all worship her and her 4 oldest (of 6) have all made the trip to see her in the past couple of weeks.

     She bought me a Mother's Day gift the first year I became a mother and has continued to do so every year since.

     When my daughter was 5, she was hospitalized in Orlando. We were trapped in a hospital room with a 7-year-old boy and days without sleep, my parents flew in from Illinois for 2 days so that we could go to the hotel and sleep.

     When I had my gallbladder out with only 2 days notice, my parents drove through the night and got here just before they took me into surgery.

     My mom loves gourmet food and fabulous chocolate...but, she'd rather have cheap Brach's Bridge Mix (tastes like wax to me). When I was a kid, I'd find those really big Hershey bars hidden around the house.

     Mom buys things in 3's. When she finds something she loves, my sister and I get one too.

     My mom always has time to really listen. I try to make all of you think that I really have my act together...but really, sometimes I don't. Sometimes I'm really just a scared kid who needs her mom to tell her it will be mom always talks me through it, day or matter how long it takes.

     We have lived 1000 miles apart for the past 20 years, but we talk 2 or 3 times a day. I almost always know where she is, what she is doing and she knows what I'm fixing for dinner. It was the only way we knew we could survive when they moved to Florida. Thankfully, they invented cell phones and our phone bills went down.

     My mom is cool. She loves American Idol and we often share the same music, books and television shows.

     I could go on and on...but, you get the idea. Mom has always been very young for her age (a side benefit of all that Florida sunshine) and she is treasured by our entire family.

     One of her favorite salads is a simple fruit salad that I've made for years. I was lucky enough to be able to make it for her while she had her 5 days at home. I even took a really bad picture of it.


1 large can pineapple chunks (drained, save the juice)
1 large can mandarin oranges (drained)
1 1/2 cups grapes cut in half
1 1/2 cup mini-marshmallows or reg. marshmallows, quartered
1 pint sour cream
1 box instant vanilla pudding

Stir the sour cream and pudding together, adding a small amount of the pineapple juice to make it creamy. Add the fruit and marshamallows and chill. If you feel it is too thick, stir in some of the reserved juice. This salad can almost be a dessert.

Please join Michael at Designs by Gollum for Foodie Friday. You won't be disappointed!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

A Hint of Spring-Tablescape Thursday

     I haven't participated in Tablescape Thursday for several weeks, but I decided it was time for me to do something that felt "normal" for me, even if I wasn't as excited to play along as usual. The other thing is that I actually collected a few treasures over the past few weeks. During the time that my husband was in Florida with me, he would stop at a thrift store, garage sale or HomeGoods when we took a break from the hospital. Many times I wouldn't want to get out of the car, but he would wave to me that I needed to come look at something, and usually he was right. When I got home on Sunday, I found several things waiting for me that I barely remember buying. Please join our hostess Susan @ Between Naps on the Porch to see all of the lovely table settings this week.

     I decided to set the table for a spring breakfast with friends. I started with a Battenburg Lace tablecloth and napkins that were a gift from my mom years ago.

     I used red vinyl placemats as chargers. The green dishes are one of my recent purchases from a flea market in Alabama on our way home. They are marked Churchill England, but I can't find the pattern name. The tiny wild strawberries on the plates set the theme for my breakfast table. I bought 4 dinner plates and 4 salad plates for $6 and I love them. The scalloped red and white plates are from Crate and Barrel. I used my everyday stainless flatware.

     The centerpiece is an eclectic mix of silvers. The tray is vintage Fina sterling silver, it belonged to my parents. I love the detail on the handles. The coffee pot was found in my in-laws garage. The candlestick was purchased at a garage sale in Florida for $4. It is marked Barbour S.P. Co. International Silver and with a little research online I found that it is from the early 1920's. The value of a pair of them is around $150-$200, so I think I got a good deal!

     The green goblets were from a thrift store in Florida. The strawberries are in a vintage footed crystal bowl. Most people would probably have used delicate cups and saucers with this table setting. My friends are much more the coffee mug type. I think it shows that you can mix sterling silver, Wal-Mart mugs, flea market dishes and come up with an interesting table.