Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Just Dinner with the Neighbor


Every now and then we invite our next door neighbor over for dinner.  He's a bachelor, so it doesn't matter what I fix, he thinks it's great.  So tonight, when I realized that we had a lot of food for just the two of us, I called next door and extended a quick invitation.  Of course, he accepted and in the time it took him to walk over here, I threw this table together, and while the guys grilled chicken, I snapped a few shots.

I bought these napkins from Pottery Barn outlet a few weeks ago, so it was in the back of my mind to use them.  Actually, it was early spring, and I thought they would be perfect for a spring table.  Well....here we are in July....they look good tonight, anyhow!

I threw this green tablecloth on the table on the white deck, then used some yellow graphic placemats. 

This is the mark on the yellow and green plates.  They sure don't look like Pfaltzgraff, do they?  

This flatware came from Homegoods last week.  I've been wanting bamboo for a while, but since I have several other wooden handled sets, I've resisted.  But, since it was $19.99, I grabbed it!  I bet I'll wish I bought another four place settings.

These old green stems and gold stemless wine glasses finished the place setting.

These have been outside on another table, so that was easy.

All of these things were in the kitchen, as there was no time to scrounge around any further.

The lake was quiet tonight, but the deck wasn't.  Our neighbor is a talker and, as usual, the evening lasted longer than I intended, but no one wanted to call it a night.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Bonjour, Bestie!


It's always a special time when my best friend, Lesesne, comes to visit!  But, even though I want to spoil her, we never take the time to entertain her very well.  We don't take time to cook or set pretty tables, since we just want to shop, shop, shop, and show her some of our favorite restaurants.

But, I did set a fun breakfast table one morning.  Since she and her sweet husband were our tour guides for our trip to France, (my most favorite trip ever), and we share our love for all things French, I decided to use these "Bonjour" plates by HomeEssentials.

I snapped these photos in the a.m. instead of waiting for the sun to provide me with good light.

These Eiffel Tower stems were perfect for juice, or, in her case, a Diet Coke!!

And the napkins were some we bought at a market day vendor in Provence.  Then I added this cobalt blue handled flatware.

I had this bouquet of sunflowers outside, so I just brought it inside.  Is there a flower more French than the lovely sunflower?

The milk for our cereal was poured from this fun little bottle that I got at World Market.

This creamer is a pewter cow from Pierre Deux.  I love how any drip falls into this little bowl.

And the salt and pepper came from another piece from Pierre Deux.  I really miss this store. 

It was a quick bite before hitting the antique shops and ADAC.

These blue lined plates and bowls are so versatile.  They can look All-American, French, or English. And they go with almost any color. 

We just have one thing to say........

"Come back SOON, Lesesne"

Joining:
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Monday, June 16, 2014

Father's Day '14

Yesterday, I wanted to honor the most wonderful, devoted father, Mr. Pressed Pants.  There's not a man alive who loves his girls more, or is prouder of his children.  Since they are 750 miles away, it falls to me to make him feel special and pampered.  

After church and a round of golf, we grilled steaks and lobster tails and enjoyed a lovely evening on the back deck. 

I wanted to use something that looked masculine, so I chose these bird plates on a green and brown table.  Last year, I used the fish plates that this company makes, and the table was very similar.  You can see that table here.

I've probably had these plates 8-10 years, but they are probably still available.

Each plate and salad plate has a different bird on it, and I just love the acorn and oak leaf border.

I used a wicker charger, and this plaid dupioni runner over a brown cloth.  This flatware is used so often, it's a wonder it isn't worn out.  I got these soup bowls at Tuesday Morning several years ago, but I'm using them as salad bowls here.

These glasses are often used, too.  The green wines are from a wonderful gift shop in Atlanta called Swoosie's, and the brown etched glasses are from the Bobby Flay line at Kohl's.

The little tapas plates make good bread and butter plates.  

This salad bowl is one of several serving pieces I have for this pattern......

and this sugar and creamer are others.

I gave a quick look around the garden for some flowers, but there were none blooming yet in the right colors, so I started with some foliage from a Japanese maple and added several shades of hosta and some herbs.  I think the fennel foliage adds a lovely texture.  I slipped it all into a faux bois vase and grounded it all with a twig tray and a primative wooden decoy.

These wonderful old wooden candlesticks added a little drama and some much needed light after dusk.

This was a cozy little dinner with colors that looked more like fall than early summer, but it seemed appropriate for Father's Day.

We sit on 7 acres, so it was private and quiet.

There weren't even any geese on the lake.

But the frogs were going crazy!

This is the other end of the deck,

and this is the chimney between the French doors that lead into the living room.  The ferns are struggling after the cold winter we had, but they are slowly coming back.

You can see another table I set in the woods with these dishes here, but this one was just for my sweet, sweet guy.

Joining:



Friday, May 16, 2014

A Spring Coffee

I just love azalea season, so when I had the opportunity to have a great group of women to our home for coffee, I jumped at the chance to entertain them this month.  

It was just a simple coffee with juice, fruit, and coffeecake, but I really wanted it to celebrate spring.

After deciding on the azaleas as a centerpiece, I used this striped runner from Ikea.  I think it was about $6.00.  Gotta love Ikea!  Then I added these little velvet birds for a little more springness.  Is that a word?  Spell check says it's not.

My favorite china to use this time of year is this Lu-Ray china with its mix of pastels.  It's from the 40's and I've collected it for ages.  You can see the Easter table I set with it here.

The juice glasses are a mix of some wonderful old depression glass ones and some Ikea ones.  They are not carrying this particular color now, but do have this style in some other colors.

The luncheon plates are pretty small, so I put them out for our coffee and fruit.  I guess servings were a lot smaller 60 years ago, as lots of china seems dainty in comparison to today's plates.

I just love to use this mixture of silverplate.  You can see that the keystone shape is the same, but the patterns are different.  I think that makes an interesting table.

You can hardly tell in this photo, but these are light pink.  They iron very easily, so I never hesitate to use them.  Call me crazy, but I'd rather iron napkins than use paper, except for maybe cocktails.

The fruit is on a lettuce patterned platter from Pottery Barn.  I wish I had bought the plates that matched.

Coffee and tea set-up.  This makes it self-serve and keeps things hot for the duration.  Since it is a 2-hour drop-in window for the coffee, this works so much better than a silver service or urn.

Mixed berries.  Yum.

The star of the show was this unassuming blueberry coffeecake.  Seriously.  You have to try this.  No, really, you HAVE to try this.  I thought I had a great recipe for this and then my world was rocked when I ate the version they serve at a funky little restaurant here in Atlanta called The Flying Biscuit Cafe.  It serves  wonderful comfort food, mostly vegetarian, some vegan, and is run by a woman names April Moon.  Don't you love that name?  Well, when I learned that she had a cookbook, I was praying that this recipe was included......and it WAS!  I love many of the recipes, but I must admit that my copy opens automatically to "Cream Cheese Coffeecake".  Here's the recipe:

CREAM CHEESE COFFEECAKE FROM THE FLYING BISCUIT CAFE
Cake Batter:
2 sticks (1 c.) butter, at room temperature
1 c. sugar
2 eggs
2 c. flour
2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. salt

Cake Filling:
2 (8 oz.) pkg. cream cheese at room temperature
1 egg yolk
1/2 c. sugar
1 t. vanilla

Cake Topping:
1/4 c. sugar
1/2 c. flour
4 T. butter, room temperature

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Lightly grease a 9x13 baking pan.  Set aside.
2.  Make the cake batter.  In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar together with an electric mixer until smooth.  Add eggs one a a time, scraping the bowl well after each addition.  Sift the flour, baking powder and salt together and add to the butter mixture.  Beat until flour is incorporated and batter is thick, pale, and creamy.  Set aside.
3.  Make the cake filling.  Using an electric mixer, combine all ingredients.  Mix until sugar is dissolved and filling is smooth.
4.  Make the cake topping.  Combine sugar and flour in a small bowl.  Using a pastry cutter or your fingertips, cut butter into sugar and flour until mixture is crumbly.  Set aside.
5.  Spread half of the cake batter over the bottom of the prepared baking pan.  Then spread the filling over the cake batter.  If you wish to add chocolate chips, peaches, or blueberries, sprinkle them over the filling now.  Using a large spoon, evenly distribute remaining cake batter over filling in small dollops.  Sprinkle entire cake surface with cake topping and bake for 45 minutes.

Serves and satisfies the masses.  You can make this several days ahead, but I recommend refrigerating it.


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