Sunday, August 29, 2010

DIY Napkin Rings….Creatures from the Deep

Fall is closing in us. Soon memories of the beach and ocean will give way to falling leaves and pumpkins. As much as I look forward to crisp cool days, I can’t quite let go. I’ve got at least one more summer tablescape rolling around in my head! The problem was that I had searched for napkin rings and never could find anything I loved.


You might remember these from last week—stainless steel napkin rings that came with a set of flatware. Lackluster on their own, they got a coat of white spray paint. I spray painted half of them key lime green in this post. The other half is getting an aquatic makeover.


First, the white spray paint went on. These got one more touch up spray after the photo. Next I started going through the shells our family has collected through years and years of vacations at the beach.


If you don’t have your own collection of shells, you can buy them at Walmart, Hobby Lobby, or Michael’s. I tried super glue with no luck. However, the hot glue gun did the trick!


A sand dollar from the second sand bar in Destin…found by one of children…bleached by me…..saved for just this moment :) Don’t worry if your napkin ring feels “top heavy”. The napkin will stabilize it. The possibilities are limited only by your supply of shells and imagination!

I am joining Susan at Between Naps on the Porch for Metamorphosis Monday. You can find her lovely blog full of inspiration here!

Thanks for stopping by. I hope you will come back for Tablescape Thursday when I will be putting these into action! Don’t forget to say hello :)

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Sunday Favorites....Back to School

Edited--I've always loved "back-to-school" time. And even now, it still signals a fresh beginning. For me it's almost like January 1st...a clean slate and full of promise. I am joining Chari at Happy to Design for Sunday Favorites. I first posted this last "fall" and it's still one of my favorites! You can find Chari here!

Labor Day is just around the corner heralding what most of us consider the beginning of fall no matter what the calendar or the weather say. Lots of children are already in school and the rest will begin this week. Although I no longer teach or even have children in school, it always make me a little nostalgic. I've been thinking this weekend...Do you remember....?
When the most important decision you had to make was what to wear on the first day of school?
When you thought you would die if your best friends weren't in your homeroom?
When you thought you'd be friends forever?
When you were shocked to find out your teacher had a first name besides Mrs.? When you thought your teacher was older than dirt...and she was younger than you are now?

When your station in life was determined by the size of your box of crayons?

When your biggest worry was who you would sit with at lunch?

When the school paste smelled like peppermint and the halls smelled like fresh wax?

When you could figure out right from wrong by looking for the red marks on your paper?

Me too....

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Beefeater Salad

I may know my way around a cupcake, but Beloved is definitely the connoisseur in the family when it comes to tomatoes. The man can tell with uncanny accuracy in what part of the state a tomato was grown…and he doesn’t bother with “store-bought” ones. Unfortunately, this year his little garden has produced no tomatoes. The plants are large and produce lovely blooms…which promptly fall off. :( So… we spend Saturday mornings at the farmers’ market


It is a tomato lover’s dream—a smorgasbord of tomato varieties, shapes, colors, and sizes. Beloved prefers a very acidic tasting tomato and our favorite grower has been recommending beefeater tomatoes. Last weekend we experimented to try to reproduce a salad he’d had in a top notch steak restaurant.


The result was a salad that was not only tasty, but easy and colorful! A lot of bang for your buck!

Beefeaters Salad

Salad greens—we used romaine

Beefeater tomatoes, thickly sliced

Crumbled cheese of your choice—blue, feta, gorgonzola

Fresh basil, chopped

Capers, optional

Balsamic vinaigrette-commercial or homemade


My basil crop put his tomato crop to shame :)

Balsamic Vinaigrette

3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/2 cup balsamic vinegar

1 clove garlic, minced

6 fresh basil leaves, chopped

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon seasoned pepper

And while we’re on the subject of capers….we are, aren’t we? Beloved asked me exactly what a caper is. Do you know?


A caper, according to my sources, is a pickled flower bud of a usually spiny perennial Mediterranean shrub ( Capparis spinosa) that bears white to pinkish-white flowers. Isn’t it a gorgeous flower? No wonder those little jars are expensive.

I’ll be linking to my favorite foodie/novelist Michael Lee West for Foodie Friday at Designs by Gollum. You can get there immediately by clicking on the button on my sidebar. You are sure to leave hungry and inspired!

Thanks for dropping by! If you can enlighten us on our tomato plight, I’d love to hear your advice for next year. Have a good weekend and happy eating….and you thought I just made desserts :) :)

Monday, August 23, 2010

The Cupcake Caper…A Crime of Passion

Last Friday I made cupcakes to take to a birthday party for Firstborn’s girlfriend. They were a little labor intensive, but I wanted them to be special. I had been wanting to try ice cream cone cupcakes for a long time and had recently seen a photo that “one-upped” the basic sprinkle decoration. So I bit the bullet and turned on the oven in this miserably hot weather we are experiencing….a labor of love.


I just used a basic white cake mix. They baked up perfectly—cake all the way to the bottom with perfect little round tops. I melted chocolate; I chopped nuts; I drained cherries; I made cream cheesing icing… for the fun part.


The result is darling cupcakes that resemble soft serve ice cream cones and sundaes.


Pretty cute, huh? Alas, that is not the end of the story….and it doesn’t have a pretty ending. It seems in my jubilation I forgot certain laws of physics. Ice cream cone cupcakes ( I seem to have forgotten) are TOP HEAVY and are sitting on a base a little larger than a quarter. In moving them, the ENTIRE pan fell to the floor.


Now, you may remember Charlie—seen here in much happier times…before he em”bark”ed on a life of crime….before he swooped in and ate the cupcakes.

charlie mosaic Mug shot

Charles Rainbow

I hear he’s pleading insanity….me too :)

I am joining Hoosier Homemade for Cupcake Tuesday (if she doesn’t kick me and Charlie out). You can find her here for delicious cupcakes that people actually got to eat!

Thanks for sharing my tale of woe. Don’t forget to say hello and send Charlie a little support. Don’t worry— he didn’t get sick and he’s been released on his own recognizance :)~~Susan

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Over the Rainbow….The Tablescape

This tablescape started innocently enough. I found napkins on sale at Steinmart. I was drawn to the colors I love in all the shades of the rainbow. Pink and peach. Blue and turquoise. Sunny yellow and yellow the color of butter. Green and kiwi. Cream and white… the shades of the rainbow as one color slowly blends into the next one.


There was no way I could choose just one color to work with. So I didn’t….choose, that is :)


I decided to pull out all the stops and use all the colors. Almost all the flowers in my yard have withered from heat. But we can still have spring on the table and in our hearts!


I found these at a thrift store. Now, I must tell you. I am not a good thrifter. The shops are too far from my house and countless trips of coming home empty handed have made me cynical. But I saw these and loved the color. I turned them over.


Can you see it? I have not mastered the art of photographing words yet. It says HEREND Village Pottery. The date is 1993. The best I can guess from my research is that this was made at one time by THE Herend. The yellow pattern reminds me of the Herend I am more familiar with.


The signature fish scale design on the bunny is very similar to the border of the plate. Regardless of their heritage, I loved the plates and they came home with me. If anyone has any information about Herend Village Pottery, I’d love to hear it!


It was a perfect chance to layer color over color…like the rainbow.


I used the delicate crystal etched in flowers. The crystal echoes the clear cube vase of the centerpiece and the staggered wine glasses holding floating votives.


The napkins work well with the stainless steel napkin rings I spray painted in Monday’s post. The color is perfect for these napkins, but will be cute as the “whimsical green” for Christmas.


I used the vintage silver plate flatware First Love by Rogers.


I used casual green flatware above the plate for dessert. One of my very favorite tablescapers oftens adds a second pattern here.


Carolyn Roehm’s book is full of beautiful pictures, recipes, and inspiration!


A breath of spring in the heat of summer


Birds fly over the rainbow….. true….


But Dorothy was right. There’s no place like home :)

Join Susan for Tablescape Thursday by clicking on the TT button on the sidebar! Thanks Susan!

I so appreciate your visit! Please take a minute and say hello!~~Susan

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Apples and Lemons and Flowers

It’s not exactly what I had intended to do, but it seems I am showing you my tablescape S L O W L Y….in increments---almost like a strip tease in reverse. On Monday I showed you (here) napkin rings and chargers that I had spray painted to give them a little umphh! Today I’m sharing my centerpiece and linking to The Style Sisters for Centerpiece Wednesday.


This is how the whole table got its start…my inspiration as they say in the design world :) Actually, I’m inspired any time I find a good sale, but I have a “thing” for pretty napkins and love these colors! So, the centerpiece took its cue from the colors in the napkin!


This is my very favorite vase. It’s a six inch cube vase. They are available at Walmart, Target, Hobby Lobby, Garden Ridge, etc. Priced around ten dollars, it’s a steal. I call it the little black dress of centerpieces. Its six inch height makes it perfect for dining table centerpieces. You can easily still see over it to have conversation at the table. Today I used green apples and lemons to echo the colors in napkins and anchor the flowers.


A small bunch of alstroemeria from Kroger is always a good choice. They are inexpensive (these were $4.99 plus a dollar off coupon) and come in a variety of colors. I also like to check the sale basket—lots of good flower bargains there! Don’t forget to strip all the leaves from the part of the stem that will be in water. This helps keep the flowers fresher for a longer time. Also, if you’d like to eat the fruit, remove it from the vase when dinner is over. It gets a little water-logged :)


I added a few floating candles in wineglasses of different heights. Candles always make a meal feel more special! Stop by The Style Sisters for inspiring centerpieces. You can find them here!

Thanks for stopping by! Don’t forget to come back on Thursday for a view of the whole table! Please say hello—I’d love to hear from you!~~Susan

Sunday, August 15, 2010

DIY Napkin Rings and Chargers

I haven’t joined Metamorphosis Monday in a while for several reasons. First, as you know, I was born without the craft gene :). Secondly, decorating projects at my house are on summer hiatus. However, I couldn’t resist a little spray painting project. Spray paint seems to calm me the way classical music does other people.


Back in the fall, I let a friend bring some items to my house during a neighborhood garage sale. She didn’t sell these old brass chargers even at $1 each. Being the gracious hostess that I am, I offered to give them a new home. HOWEVER, I am over brass for now. Like many of you, I suspect, I have a closet full of Baldwin brass candlesticks (don’t worry, I’m keeping those. They’ll be the hot “new” accessory again one day :) . These chargers, however, had seen better days. They had redeeming qualities however. I loved the shell design on the edges. They deserve a little white spray paint!


Bar Keepers Friend has been my friend for many years. It works wonders on brass and stainless steel without a lot of elbow grease. After a quick cleaning the chargers looked good enough to deserve a home in the dish closet….almost.


While I was mulling over the charger situation, I ran across the these napkin rings in a drawer. They came with a set of inexpensive stainless I bought for one the kid’s college apartments. They lack personality and had been forgotten.


Key lime paint to the rescue! Now these little napkin rings have lots of personality! They need another coat of paint. As soon as the temperature dips below 100, I’ll go back outside and paint them :)


I think these napkin rings and chargers have a whole new life expectancy now! Come back on Thursday for a tablescape debut! I am joining Susan at Between Naps on the Porch for Met Monday. You can join the fun and find wonderful ideas here. And since I finally can boast of a garage sale treasure I am linking to Rhoda at Southern Hospitality. You can find her here!

Thanks for stopping by! Don’t forget to say hello. I’d love to hear from you!~~Susan

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Summer Sundays…A Perfect Day

Summer Sundays

Even when your life is no longer dictated by school schedules, summer seems to take on its on personality. Life is a little more low key….a little more casual.


Because Beloved and I are both “morning” people, we almost always go to the early service at church. I took this picture today of the steeple on the original chapel built in 1851. If you look closely, you’ll see a little bird surveying the grounds. With an actual temperature of 104 expected here today, I’m hoping he flew into that tall shady magnolia.


This is a spring picture from the website. Church history says that the building was spared during the Civil War when the minister offered to house wounded soldiers. Although a large church now stands beside this chapel, it is often the site of small weddings. The inide is beautiful and quaint. Church is over by 9:45 and now we have the whole day ahead of us….which for me includes this


Me, a raft, a book, and a pitcher of iced tea….it’s the only way to survive outside in this heat and humidity. Sometimes it’s just the two of us…sometimes the whole gang descends. Sundays, for me, means family. And it always means food.


Beloved and I have a deal. I negotiated this in the first year of marriage. I cook Monday through Friday. On the weekend, we cook out or go out. It works for us :) I am joining The Tablescaper for Summer Sundays. You can join the fun here!

I’ve missed you this week!!!. My computer needed a tune up and I have been out of commission. Thanks for dropping by. Don’t forget to say hello and have a SUPER SUNDAY!!!