Wednesday, March 31, 2010

A Tablescape “For the Birds”

I know we’re all hopping around like bunnies…preparing for Easter or celebrating Passover, making Easter baskets, cooking for family and friends, or maybe you’re packing to leave town…good for you :).  Join me, if you have a minute, for quick birthday luncheon.  I hope you won’t think it’s for the birds!


It’s informal, so we’ll be eating in the breakfast nook.  I know this is “rabbit season”, but this tureen and these colors were whispering in my ear….


The tureen and stargazer lily were in cahoots….”We belong together,” they said.  “How can you keep us apart?”


“Our innermost beings cry out for each other,” they pleaded.  And they were right.  Their hearts seemed like the perfect union.


They conspired with the folks at Pier One.  “Send her an email about the sale---she’ll see those perfect napkins”.  They brought the Target birds into the conspiracy.  You know the old saying—“Birds of a feather….”


Soon birds from all over the house were joining in….”We were meant to be….”. 


The word went out to Target.  “Put the cupcake kits rights up front….she’ll get the hint”.


You can’t fight mother nature…..some things are meant to be!

Tureen from the Lemon Chiffon collection by Tracy Porter

China-Big Lots Gibson

Salad bowls—“the other china”—melamine from China and Target

Flatware-First Love by Rogers

Napkins-Pier One (on sale now)! 

Crystal-from the grandmother with the “dish gene” :)

Join our gracious hostess Susan at Between Naps on the Porch.  Susan always has something special and a flock of particiapants!  Click on her button on the sidebar…and you’re there!


Have a joyous Easter!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Multiplying Like Bunnies

Lynette over at Lynette’s L.A.M. blog is hosting an Easter Decor party. Lingering cool temperatures and nonstop work on a silent auction have almost let Easter slip up on me…but come on in….the bunnies are multiplying like…..well, like bunnies :)


Remember last year’s Pier One moss “bunny on a stick”? He’s hopped onto my spring wreath. He’s a versatile and compliant little bunny and sometimes hops from place to place as I need him :) .


The chest in the foyer, for me, is the essence of Easter. The Bradford pear trees are in full bloom here and the ground is covered in white again---this time in petals. The sage looking bunny with the big feet provides a bit of whimsy. The egg, a symbol of renewal, on the Arthur Court pedestal was a gift to me several years ago. I have since looked for more, but have never found one. The cross, which stays here year round, is at Easter a reminder of the Resurrection. Let’s go into the den. Caution: rabbits at play here :)


I am cursed with mantel issues—I have never (really, never) been pleased with the way it looks. Changing things around with a few of my favorite bunnies and some “faux” forysythia helps temporarily.


This is the hearth bunny. He likes this spot (luckily, because he weighs a ton :) and is not particular about his diet. He eats poinsettias at Christmas, ferns in the spring, and mums in the fall.


This little bunny, a Christmas gift, is making his debut this Easter. He is a McCarty bunny made by potters in Merigold MS. He still looks a little timid, but I’m sure he’ll be welcomed into the fold!


One more bunny to keep watch over the stargazer lilies---is there anything that smells better? For me, it’s a close call between these and gardenias.


Bunnies are running rampant in the kitchen too---one to watch over my morning tea kettle….


Smiling ones ones on the oven doors…


Crouching on the sideboard…..


Even a cute little girl bunny in her Easter frock to hand you some tulip soap in the powder room!

Thanks Lynette! I am joining Marty at A Stroll Thru Life for Tabletop Tuesday as well. If I don’t see you again…Have a happy and blessed Easter! Thanks for stopping by :)

Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Food Network Has Found My Secret

Chances are if you have ever been to Memphis, you have eaten at the world-renowned Rendevous famous for its barbecue, but you’ve probably never even heard of our favorite place to eat…that is until now. The food network’s “The Best Thing I Ever Ate” recently featured our well kept secret!


Pete and Sam’s has long been the restaurant of choice for our family’s special occasions, birthdays, graduation celebrations-- you name it! It’s an old restaurant (in business since 1948) located in an older part of Memphis now in the middle of pawn shops and Kwik Kash establishments. We’re still part of the “newer” patrons—we’ve only eating there for the last twenty years.


See the harlequin pattern table cloth? On a recent visit I commented to our waitress about the new cloth. “Mr. Sam bought ‘em for the food channel”, I was told. And sure enough, there she is—Lisa Lillien of Hungry Girl talking about Pete and Sam’s barbeque pizza recently on an episode of “The Best Thing I Ever Ate”.


This is Mr. Sam---know and loved by many. Well into his eighties, he sits behind the cash register every night, speaks to everyone who comes in, and knows many by name. He likes to tell everyone that he hasn’t had a raise in sixty two years :).


This pizza has the absolute thinnest crust I have ever eaten any where. The pizza is a combination of pulled pork and Italian cheeses with Pete and Sam’s tomato gravy. Combine this with their Miss Vita salad (my personal favorite) for a perfect meal !


Barbeque is my “go-to” recipe to take to new mothers, the family of sick friends, or anyone in need of a meal. It’s perfect because it can be warmed up individually for sandwiches or frozen for later. Add some slaw, a bag of buns, and a bag of chips and you’ve got a meal! This is how I do it.

Pulled Pork

Season a Boston butt with lemon pepper and garlic. I put it in a throwaway foil container. Top with a full bottle of Kraft Hickory Smoke BBQ Sauce mixed with a cup of white vinegar. Bake covered with foil at 250 degrees overnight. Wake up to the best aroma you ever smelled! Remove from oven and cool. When the pork is cool, remove fat and tear into shreds. I then top it with homemade sauce or serve the sauce on the side.

Pop’s BBQ Sauce

3 tablespoons dark brown sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon dry mustard

1 teaspoon paprika

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1 tablespoon chili powder

4 tablespoons vinegar

4 tablespoons water

3 tablespoons butter

2 teaspoons lemon juice

2 tablespoons Lea and Perrins

3 tablespoons liquid smoke

1/2 cup chili sauce

1/2 cup ketchup

Melt all together in a saucepan.

This is the real thing! I am joining our hostess Michael Lee West at Designs by Gollum for Foodie Friday. She is one hostess who is always cooking up or “dressing up” something good! Click on the Foodie Friday button on my sidebar for transportation!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Turkeys and Tidewater Blue


Spring is finally here…at least on the calendar. My husband eagerly awaits the arrival of spring. For him it is turkey season. For me it is a time of renewal and that means paint! I cut this picture out of House Beautiful some time ago with my daughter’s guest bedroom in mind.


When the men headed out of town for a weekend of turkey hunting, we headed to the Sherwin Williams. She has built in book shelves on one wall in a guest bedroom—great for storage and display, but it was dull and empty for the newlyweds.


The bed is from the groom’s childhood. You know the one…brown, ugly, oak. They spray painted it black and she found a great blue comforter and shams at Target. From there, it was simply a matter of getting a little paint on the walls and giving the bookcase a personality on a budget.


Because this is a 1940’s cottage style house and the bedrooms are very small, we needed a very subtle color. We took a sham to the paint store to help us choose a color. We chose Tidewater Blue—a pale blue with gray undertones. I think blue is one the hardest colors to “get right”. I was pleased to see that Sherwin Williams now offers a five dollar trial size. We chose a blue about two shades darker for the inside of the bookcase. The silver mirror and the plaques were both sale items at Hobby Lobby.


Our next task was to fill these shelves on a budget. We began collecting things she already owned and looking at wedding gifts---a black, blue, and silver theme naturally emerged. She needs a bedside table and it is not on the budget this month, so we added a lamp from her college days for soft lighting. We found plenty of black books at the thrift store for 25 cents each. Just remove the dust jacket to find the color you need for your shelves.


I removed one of the shelves to add a little variety and accommodate this large collage frame. (The groom previously had it hanging in the living room with the “strangers” still in it :). Sunshine redid some of their favorite photos in black and white to fill it. The picture on the easel is a signed picture of the very first kindergarten class she taught. We found the clock for 66 % off at Hobby Lobby. We added baskets, candle holders, and a few other things from Hobby Lobby and Garden Ridge—and all on sale. I think it is important to vary heights and textures to add more interest.

I found a neck roll pillow with the perfect blue and had it monogrammed. I think details “make” a room. Next up is a bedside table, window treatments, and another picture. We’ve ordered the fabric and will just do a valance. That is in the budget for next month….she’s learning :)

My husband says every time he goes out of town I either paint something or buy a dog. He’s lucky! Now I have another house to paint in!

I’m joining Susan at Between Naps on the Porch and Smiling Sally for Blue Monday…tidewater blue :). I hope you’ll visit both of these ladies. You won’t be disappointed!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

The Ultimate All-Occasion Brownie


On Tuesday I posted these blarney brownies and a spring drink concoction for Kathleen at Cuisine Kathleen’s St. Patrick’s Day party. I just may have found my new favorite pick up dessert for entertaining. It is easy, delicious, and oh so versatile!


I called them blarney brownies, but, in truth, they can be altered to fit any occasion-- Red and green filling at Christmas for Blitzen brownies, pink or blue filling for baby shower brownies, or all the pastels for spring or Easter brownies. They are rich and a little goes a long way. The best part—the bottom layer starts with a box mix! :)

Ultimate All Occasion Brownie

1 box supreme brownie mix with a chocolate syrup pouch, made as directed.


3 1/2 cups powdered sugar

1/4 cup butter or margarine, softened

1/4 cup whipping cream

1 (3 ounce) package cream cheese, softened

1/4 teaspoon mint extract (optional for you, but for me a must :)

4 drops of the food coloring of your choice


1/2 cup whipping cream

1 (12 ounce) bag semisweet chocolate chips (about 2 cups)

1/2 cup butter (do not substitute margarine)

Bake brownies according to directions. In a large bowl beat filling ingredients with electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. Spread over cooled brownies and refrigerate about an hour or until set. Meanwhile, in a 2-qt. non-stick saucepan, heat topping ingredients over medium heat stirring constantly until melted and smooth. Cool until lukewarm. Pour topping over filling and spread to cover. Refrigerate about 2 hours or until set.

Note: I have constant issues with cutting “pretty” brownies. I popped these in the freezer for a few minutes. I used a warm serrated knife to first score lightly and then cut. I wiped the knife clean between each cut. The first one out of the pan may not be pretty—eat it!


I spent the weekend helping my daughter paint yet another room in the previously all white bachelor pad and ran across this book on her coffee table. I don’t think this apple fell far from the tree :). It is filled with beautiful tables, theme parties and recipe ideas. The spring fling drink pictured with the brownies is a recipe from this book.

Spring Fling

In a large pitcher, mix 1 1/3 cups sugar, 1 cup fresh mint leaves, two lemons and one cucumber thinly sliced into rounds. Add two cups vodka (optional) and two cups fresh lemon juice (10-12 lemons). Let stand for about thirty minutes and stir to dissolve sugar. Add two cups club soda. Serve over ice and garnished with fresh lemon slices, cucumber slices and mint leaves. Wouldn’t it be pretty served from one of these?


I saw beehive drink dispensers similar to this at Steinmart last week. I already have one, but am tempted to buy this because I love the shape!

I know Michael Lee West has something special for us this week. Our gracious hostess is offering wonderful giveaways too. By the way, if you’re not signed up for her newsletter, you’re missing out! Click on the Foodie Friday button on the sidebar for immediate transportation!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Calling all Leprechauns


Pssst…..Hey you! Yes, you….I know you can see me. Our good friend Kathleen from Cuisine Kathleen is having her second annual blog crawl. That Kathleen loves St. Patrick’s Day almost as much as she loves Bill. Well, that’s what Kathleen calls him. The rest of us know him as William Sonoma :)


Let’s have a little snack before we head over to the party. I pulled out the Irish lace and made Blarney Brownies for you! Did you know that leprechauns before the twentieth century traditionally wore red jackets? According to the Irish poet Yeats, solitary leprechauns prefer red jackets, while “trooping” ones favor green attire. Of course, our leprechaun is wearing green. He’s a party animal! He loves that special concoction I’ve whipped up to celebrate. It’s filled with “springy” flavors and called spring fling!


I love these stacked servers. One is from T.J. Maxx and one is from Marshall’s. The open weave in the larger one allows me to change the ribbon to suit the occasion!


Before we head over to the party at Cuisine Kathleen, I’d like to leave my friends in the land of Blog with a special Irish prayer.

May God give you

For every storm, a rainbow

For every tear, a smile

For every care, a promise

And a blessing in each trial.

For every problem life sends

A faithful friend to share.

For every sigh, a sweet song

And an answer to each prayer.

Now head over to the party at Cuisine Kathleen! I’ll be linking on Thursday to Susan’s Tablescape Thursday at Between Naps the Porch. I’ll be posting the brownie and spring fling recipes on Foodie Friday at Designs by Gollum! Happy St. Patrick’s Day and thanks Kathleen!

I am also linking to JanMary's St. Patrick's Day Blogging Carnival at Welcome to My World. She is REALLY Irish. Give her a visit here

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Supper in a Hurry


I ran across this cocktail napkin and knew I had to have it! Lately, I’ve been a busy girl, but as we all know: We still have to eat. I don’t think you’ll find this recipe on the food network or in a gourmet magazine, but one of our young friends who eats here frequently pronounced it his “favorite meal here ever”. Granted, he’s not a food critic, but the recipe got rave reviews at my daughter’s house too.


Hot Tamale Pie

2 cans beef tamales, drained and unwrapped

4-6 boneless chicken breasts, boiled and chopped

1 (15 1/2) ounce can tomato sauce

1 cup sour cream

Cheddar cheese, grated

Place the tamales in the bottom of a greased 2-quart casserole dish. Top with chopped chicken. Mix tomato sauce and sour cream. Pour mixture over the chicken and tamales. Top with cheese. Bake at 350 degrees about 20-30 minutes.

I haven’t figured out a way to make it “camera pretty”, but trust me. This one didn’t last long. What can I say—the napkin says it all! :)

Michael at Designs by Gollum is sure to have something special whipped up for us. You can visit her and a long list of “foodies” by clicking on the FF button on my sidebar. Thanks Michael!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010



I’ve missed you!  It seems my computer caught a nasty bug or virus.  The evil little booger crept in in the middle of the night with no warning and no immediate cure.  Ominous warnings flashed every where. ….offering to fix it with my credit card number…..and warning all my information was at risk….and misspelled.  :).  That was my first clue.


The good news is that I did survive.  I even caught up on a little reading and played a few games…..but I must admit it.  I felt a little resentment….well, maybe more than a little.  So this is for THEM:

To Whom It May Concern:

1.  I so very much appreciate your kind offer of oodles of money (I can’t tell how much it is).  I know it must be a terrible problem—all that money and no place to put it.  However, at this time I must decline.  It seems imprudent to send my information or money to places I can’t find on the map.

2.  I do not think I will be needing any male enhancement products now or in the near future.

3.  If you are my dear friend stranded in some remote country with no wallet, ID, or money; borrow a cell phone.  If I know you well enough to send you money, you know the number.

4.  I prefer to buy my drugs the old-fashioned way—with a prescription and at my local pharmacy. 

5.  I  prefer to borrow money from banks.

6.  I am going to risk not knowing your information about the actual time and date for the end of the world.

7.  I will not forward your email that promises health, wealth, and happiness if I send it to ten of my closest friends.  If something dances across your screen, call an exterminator or a doctor.

Now, I feel just a little better and so does my computer.  Glad to be back.  I missed my friends!