Tablescapes, Home Decor, Thrifting, Cooking

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Entertaining Inspiration

Entertaining is such a fun experience ~~ why is it we tend to put it off? Why is it we call our girlfriends and say "let's meet at Panara's for lunch" when we could have fun using some of our many dishes and we could try all those stacks and stacks of recipes we collect.
There are a couple of books I really want to share with you. They are ones I refer to over and over again for inspiration and for the tried and true or never fail me recipes.
The first is called The Art and Craft of Entertaining
Kimberly Kennedy
It's actual a book I read cover to cover and looked forward to the next chapter wondering what she had to say. It's full of party planning ideas from organizing your dishes to making take home gifts for your guests to making napkin rings, menu planning and a slug of recipes.
She shows this idea of having an inspiration board of things you love and gradually seeing a plan come together by using and collecting things that are truly dear to you. A picture of a room, a bird plate or a cool looking cocktail in a distinctive glass could actual inspire your next party, she explains. Another book to share with you is one I've had since I was in my mid twenties. It's called Cookery for Entertaining by Marlene Sorosky. Yes, I know some of you weren't even born yet. It is one I still use and it never fails me. It's basically a cook book and also filled with instructions, pictures plus very, very good recipes. I refer to it often when I want to fix something really nice. This picture shows an Apple Puffed Pancake which I served to six girlfriends. I hosted a birthday brunch for two who shared the same birthday and we all enjoyed the party in my home, eating "real" food. Here is one recipe that I make often. It has the best taste and texture. I hope you will enjoy it too.
Chocolate Chip Coffeecake ~This is a favorite brunch recipe of mine ¼ lb. butter, room temperature 1 8 oz. pkg cream cheese, room temperature 1 ¼ c. sugar 2 eggs 1 t. vanilla 2 cups all purpose flour 1 t. baking powder ½ t. baking soda ¼ t. salt ¼ c. cold milk 1 (6 oz.) pkg. chocolate chips (1 cup) Pecan Topping: ¼ c. sugar 1 t. cinnamon ¼ c. chopped pecans Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 9”x3” springform pan; set aside. Prepare Pecan Topping; set aside. In a large bowl, cream butter, cream cheese and sugar. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla, flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt; mix well. Stir in cold milk and chocolate chips. Mixture will be very thick. Pour into prepared pan. Sprinkle with Pecan Topping. Bake 50 to 55 mins. til pick inserted in center comes out clean. Let cool 15 minutes. Remove outside ring from springform pan and cool cake completely. May be frozen. Makes 12 servings
I would love to hear of any entertaining books that are favorites of yours.
In other news, Laura Lu @Hidden Promises has bestowed a very nice award to me! It's just my second one and I am thrilled that she selected me. It's called Sisterhood Award and isn't that just exactly what we have become ~~ a sisterhood of sorts.
Thank you sweet friend. I am honored to add this to my blog. :)

Friday, February 20, 2009

Simple, Pleasant Chores

Something tells me that a lot of you are like me ~~~ With each new day God gives me, I try to remember to give Him thanks that I am healthy, happy and have a good life.
I am able to get up and do whatever I have planned for the day and for the most part take it with a smile.I will admit, however, I do not like doing dishes. Of course I cram as much as possible into the dishwasher, but those big pots and some Tupperware items, I always hand wash. I can find more things to do before tackling those last minute kitchen duties after supper.
One thing I really don't mind is ironing.
I especially enjoy ironing napkins.
My daughter and I are hosting a baby shower this Sunday in her home. Last weekend while antiquing with my mother I ran across a large damask tablecloth with twelve matching napkins half price! For all of that, the cost was around $17. I only found one stain on a napkin and I'm working on that trying to remove it.
I have found a delightful linen spray called PaperWhites that just makes ironing all the more fun. It has a really soft scent that takes you away to another world as you are pressing the wrinkles out of the linens. The smell stays on your hands long after you have unplugged the iron.
My Rowenta iron is also a pleasure to perform this task with.
Lots of distilled water is helpful too
Sometimes I will turn the tv on to pass the time while ironing if I have a lot while other times I will talk on the phone ~~ Most of the time I do some heavy thinking!
Do you remember these old painted bottles that were used as sprinklers for clothes? This one belonged to my dear mother in law. I really don't use it, but I enjoy looking at it displayed in my laundry room.
Another chore I don't mind is polishing silver. Now by looking at these baby mugs you will say, "Sure she likes to polish silver ~~ why are they so black?" LOL! Well when I finally start polishing I love the transformation of turning a piece from black to shiny silver. We are going to use these baby cups of my daughters at the shower filled with baby white carnations. One of the cups was Mr. Brown Socks when he was a child. It's the one with the dent ~~ typical boy. :)
What chores do you like to do?

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Hopelessly Traditional

Today I am playing along with "What's on your Wall Wednesday" hosted by our very creative Barb at Grits and Glamour Go take a look and see all the other bloggers great ideas they are showing today.
When we first moved into our new house I tried to be a bit more contemporary. I looked at fabrics with circles and funky shapes. Yes, I tried.
It's a good feeling when you just realize you are who you are and nothing will change that. I am a traditionalist through and through. That is my look in decorating.
It's time to get serious about decorating The Man Cave. You've seen the other side of this room, the bar area I shared a couple of weeks ago. This is a very large room and is definitely a work in progress. Baby steps ~~ right????
This picture will give you an idea of what I'm working with. There is a double window to the left of this picture. Now pay attention, friends ~~~
Meet Hazel
She kinda sorta started the feel for where I'm going in this room
(sorry about the glare)
I told Mr. Brown Socks I wanted this to be a masculine room for him {grin} as if he cares
Next came these finds
I found the top, smaller one in a quaint shop in Chicago and decided I had to have it
The larger one was found in an antique shop at Nags Head, NC
Mr. Brown Socks actually laughed at me saying, "Yah, like I really go fox hunting". Well he may not fox hunt, but he does hunt for birds. Bird plates now entering There he is in the field with his dog
Now back to "What's on your Wall Wednesday" or maybe what needs to be on my wall ~~ draperies
I decided to make this room feel sort of "Ralph Laureney". With a massive red leather couch and two red leather recliners, this room is crying out for fabric. I only have faux wood blinds up to the window and am now eager to add long drapery panels and pillows for some softness.
I found this fabric which really has a RL feel, don't cha think? I hadn't set out looking for fabric with birds, but this does have quails on it. That makes me a little nervous. I'm a bit concerned that in a few years I will tire of the birds. I like the fact he has a little blue. Most of my home is red or orangy red and it would be fun to introduce some blue to shake things up a bit. The plaid fabric appeals to me to but I "think" I am more drawn to the one on the left Trying not to jump too quickly but to keep moving with this project. Stay tuned for progress!

Friday, February 13, 2009

A Valentine Greeting

Happy Valentine's Day
Dear Sweet Blogging Friends


I am having so much fun getting to know so many of you. I truly look forward to posting, reading your replies and seeing what you are up to through your blogs.

I'm sorry I haven't been good about posting this week


I've been painting :) and other fun things. Soon you will see what I've been up to.

Wishing you a Special Valentine's Day with your sweetie, your mother, your children, your grandchilden, your pets or your best friend!


Monday, February 9, 2009

A Place for Family, Friends and Fun

Today I am participating in my first Metamorphosis Monday. Thanks to Susan at Between Naps on the Porch
for hosting this.
Since we have only lived in our house 2 1/2 yrs. I haven't done a whole lot of changing things yet...just adding to the bareness. This is a picture of our downstairs bar/kitchen while it was under construction.
The picture below was taken at the model home while under construction. We added a large sink in the middle. This plan had a small bar sink on the other side. I decided the sink the builder was putting in was just too tiny. You will see pictures further down.
Here is the bar after we moved in and finally got it decorated this past fall. Pretend with me that the old refrigerator we are using is painted black, okay? ;) ~someday~ Notice the figurine to the left of the refrigerator.
His name is I.W. Harper, an old whiskey decantur I found at an antique store. I just LOVE him. When I first spotted him, he was priced around $30. I liked him but didn't really want to spend that much money on him. We didn't have the bar fixed up yet, so I walked on by. It was one of those things that never totally left my mind. Around nine months later I was back in the store and decided it would be fun to have, but it was gone. :( While browsing this large antique store I realized they had a basement! What do you suppose was down there waiting for me, but Mr. I.W. Harper on the clearance for $15!! I grabbed him up fast. His cane was missing so I made one out of a piece of bendable wire that I sprayed copper. These antique billiard balls sit on the counter. Mr. Brown Socks found these for me. While we are pretending that the refrigerator is black, let's also pretend the walls are painted something other than khaki ~someday~
This is a framed menu my nephew actually created.
Let's pretend I moved those unsightly cords that are showing!
I hope you've enjoyed my first Metamorphosis Monday.
Go over and visit Susan to find many other makeovers!

Friday, February 6, 2009

Thoughts of Spring

Mr. Brown Socks took today off and we are going to sit down and get our seed order off to Gurney's. That's one thing we like to do together ~~ Gardening. He is really into vegetable gardening while I like to add several herbs and flowers. Of course by late April we will be visiting the nurseries choosing our tomato and pepper plants. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
It is so cold here in the Midwest that we can only dream of digging in the dirt for a couple more months. I do have plans to start some seedlings in egg cartons to get an earlier start on some things that take a long time.
Cardinal Climber is one of those. They take a really long time to get started. I LOVE how they take over and trail around a trellis! Are you familiar with this beauty? Once it gets going (well after the 4th of July where I live) it grows several inches (it seems) every day. The hummingbirds are attracted to it because of it's red tubular flowers.
This picture was taken from our garden a couple of summers ago, showing my cardinal climber. A wind storm took this whole thing down in late September. The weight caused my trellis to fall apart. I was just sick when the whole thing was destroyed.

I'm glad I at least got a picture of it in all it's glory.



Another plate has been set

My daughter asked if we could watch Boo while she is out of town for the weekend. It's easy to leave a cat alone for a couple of days, but we love having Boo around and Jamie doesn't have to worry about her being lonely this way.

Does she look nervous to you??
Of course Magnolia isn't absolutely positive she wants to share the limelight.
They are entertained by one another and do fine together but don't snuggle up like I wish they would.
Is it just me, or are beautiful together??


Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Here They Come ~~ Boxes from Market

They've been showing up

For about a week now....the boxes. Just when my husband hauls all the cardboard to the recycle center, another shipment comes.
My assistant is checking to see if these are really Faux
Nothing else will do! :0)

What will I do with all the inventory??
I also wanted to show you something I purchased for little me... Isn't it gorgeous?
~~The bird tray ~~
In other news, my decision has been made. I plan to paint the dining room walls cajun red and I am going with my initial idea on the window treatments. The fabric has been ordered.
Thank you for your encouragement, compliments and suggestions about this exciting project!

Monday, February 2, 2009

The Rest of the Picture

Remember on my last post I said I found what I wanted for my dining room windows and loved it?
Well, I still love it, BUT as humans can be, I started doubting myself about the design of the draperies. I was afraid the look was a little too someone's grandma's house. Well, yes, I am a grandma but I don't want my house to have that "image" don't cha know?
Would someone tell the silk plant lady that her tree seems to be leaning after moving it to vacuum??!!
I'm showing you pictures of the dining room along with more of the main part of our house so you can tell me what you think. As you can see, we have a very open floor plan.
The walls with the hutch and the windows are the ones I plan to paint Cajun Red. I'm thinking of having someone do a bronzy faux finish on the ceiling.
Notice the piece of fabric up to the window as I continue to look at it and visualize the whole picture.
The living room is directly across from the dining room, with the wood floor path separating the two rooms.
~ Here is the living room ~
Beyond the dining room and living room, you can see the hearth room and into the kitchen at the far end of the house. It is so hard to get good pictures. Too much light, ~~ not enough light. What is the answer??
I do love my house, but I really am ready to start painting. When we first moved in my mother said she loved everything and she hoped I didn't go painting the walls right away. (She does know how I am....lover of red and anything with color! )
Why is it, no matter how old we are, we still want to please our mothers? My mother is a beige wall kind of person, although we did get her to put some color on her living room walls. I'll show you some day.
I also want to paint our column a white semi gloss to make it more finished looking.
The living room and entry may be Restrained Gold by SW
Enjoy this first day of February. I hope to make a final decision soon and you'll be one of the first to know.
Do the window treatments look too museum like? (See pictures from last post.)