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Tuesday, January 25, 2011

A Little Birdie Told Me That Spring is Coming!

After all of the ice and snow that we've had here in Atlanta, I'm ready to think about spring.  I set this table for dinner tonight with that in mind.  Out went the fall colors, out went the reds and greens of Christmas, and in came celedon and pink with cream.

It's a little hard to tell in this photo, but these dinner and salad plates are the prettiest shade of celedon green.  Almost a turquoise, but not quite.  They are marked on the back "Pagnossin" and made in Italy. 

They seemed to go with these cream colored linens.  The placemat is from a set I've had for years.  I think my mom gave them to me.  The doilies are from an antique auction in Ohio.  I have three sizes, so I used them for under the flowerpots, water glasses, and wine tumblers.  I just love antique linens and I use them frequently.  I even find it pleasurable to iron them.  (I know, I know.)
Everything was kept to a pale palate.

These cabbage leaf dishes are majolica reproductions made in Portugal.  They make the perfect bread and butter dishes.

Pale pink linen napkins are fanned in a sea glass colored a resin napkin ring from Boxwoods in Atlanta.

I think these water glasses came from Marshall's quite a few years ago.  I remember going to several stores to get eight of them.  The wine tumblers are from Macy's Martha Stewart line. They are such thin glass that I'm forever afraid of breaking them.  I wish I had bought a few extra just in case!  The proportions are a little off in this shot.  The stem is really much bigger than the tumbler.

I used this French inspired flatware with cream handles and just because the color was so good with this table, I included these zinc knife rests.

I found them at Boxwoods.  I'm sure they are reproductions and probably not really made of zinc, but they seem to be washed with it. 

Here's the inspiration for the title of the tablescape.  These velvet birds came from the floral wholesaler.  I placed one at each place setting.  Don't they look like old Victorian pieces?  I may be rushing the Easter look, but I thought that they made the table a little more interesting.  Hopefully, they suggest spring, not Easter just yet.

These candlesticks added a bit more whimsy.  They are metal with glass teardrops.  I can't remember where they came from.

Using the zinc look from the knife rests, I echoed it in the flower pots.  They also came from the flower wholesaler.  I filled them with pink roses, pave style.
After I shot this, I remembered that I have some seeded eucalyptus and I should have added it to the arrangement.  The blue-green color would have been perfect.
For dessert (lemon cheesecake!) I used these very pale turquoise opalescent plates from Homegoods.  They look old, don't they?

Here's an aerial view of the table.  These roses were such a surprise.  They started out very, very pale pink and darkened as they opened. 

Do you feel that spring is a bit closer?  I noticed that the days are getting a wee bit longer.  It's definitely still winter, but I did feel a little hopeful about the coming of spring.  Seed catalogues, anyone?

Look for me to post at Between Naps on the Porch for Susan's Tablescape Thursday blog party.  You'll love the entries there.

I'm also posting with Robin's All Things Inspired.  Go see the kinds of things that bloggers are entering at her wonderful blog.  I am always so inspired by Robin herself!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Allison's First Pillow

Would you just look at this face?  Isn't she cute?  Isn't she happy?  Know why?  She just made this pillow all by herself.  This is my sweet young friend, Allison.  She's a newlywed graduate student and from time to time we get together and teach each other something.  Sometimes it's as simple as sharing a couple of recipes, but it's always fun.  This weekend, Allison taught me some computer skills, and she wanted to learn to sew, so I taught her how to make a pillow. 

Just take a look at this beauty!  Seriously!  She did it all by herself.  First we went through fabrics I had in my workroom.  Fortunately, she has the same colors in her apartment that I have here.  We picked a solid linen with some brown and green flat trim.  It was a good choice because it had no right or wrong side and no up or down design.  And it's beautiful.

And do you see the cording that she covered? Magnificent!
The joy of accomplishment! 

Is there a craft or a skill that you could teach an eager young person?  When someone is ready to learn, it is such a pleasure to teach.  We had SUCH a good time.  It was a perfect way to spend a snowy weekend.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Big Hen and Little Roosters Tablescape

I've had this rooster centerpiece for quite a while. I first used it for a "hen party".

When I found these rooster salad plates at World Market, I knew I had a new way to use her.

I set the table for four in the dining room with no tablecloth or pads.  My mom was with us and she loves chickens, so I knew I had to do this table sometime during her visit.

Starting with a bright yellow placemat from Kohl's, I decided to use yellow, red and orange with a touch of green.

These straw chargers were stacked with creamy plates from Target, then a tomato-red plate from Ballard, then the rooster salad plate.

I'm not sure, but I think this flatware came from Target, too.  It's yellow and red with a touch of green and I remember that I bought it for Mexican tablescape.

These versitile napkins are from Kohl's Home collection and the straw rings came from World Market this past summer.

I just plopped some grocery store flowers into these sassy little metal holders. These came from the floral wholesaler and I love them, but they leak!  I line them with a baggie.

Pottery Barn makes this candle holder and glass hurricane.  These pillars sure do say "orange"!

Red is brought in with these vintage stems, and I used these glasses in straw sleeves for wine.  They came from Tenille and Company in Atlanta.

Pottery Barn again!

Old, sturdy Imperial Glass salt and peppers from our wedding glassware. I have several pair of these and, boy I use them a lot.

I served wine made by our friend, Tuck Beckstoffer on a wicker coaster.  If you haven't tried this wine, be sure to look for it.  It's moderately priced and oh, so good!

We had such a nice night eating and talking and drinking and laughing!  The four of us represented three generations, but the conversation was spirited and steady! We also had a good time cooking together and what do you think I served?  CHICKEN!!! 


I'm linking to Between Naps on The Porch for Thursday Tablescapes.  Check out all the awesome posts that Susan is hosting.

Please leave me a comment!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Mighty Good Mushroom Soup

Mr. Pressed Pants found this recipe as he was leafing through Phyllis Hoffman's winter issue of Celebrate.  (If you haven't found this magazine yet, be sure to keep your eye out for the spring issue.  I promise you won't be disappointed.)  Our code to each other is to turn the corner of the page down, indicating interest of something on this page.  Usually, I wonder, "What in the world does he see of interest on this page?", but this time he put five stars on the page too!  So, this Sunday night seemed like a great soup night and I made this.  Here's the recipe:

Cream of Mushroom Soup with Fried Leeks

4 T. butter
1 cup chopped leeks
1 1/2 lb. mixed sliced mushrooms
(no need to buy the really expensive wild ones, I just
used button and portabello)
1 t. dry thyme ( I used 1 T. fresh
and I recommend it)
salt and pepper to taste
4 c. chicken broth ( I like College Inn)
1 c. heavy cream ( used fat-free half and half)

In a lg. pan, melt butter and add leeks.  Cook till soft and add mushrooms, sprinkle with thyme and salt and pepper.  Cook about 12-15 minutes until soft and liquid evaporates.  Add broth, bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer 15 min.  Blend or process 1 c. of this until smooth.  Add back to pan and add cream.  Keep warm over very low heat.

Fried Leeks:
vegetable oil
2 c. thinly sliced leeks
kosher salt

Heat oil in skillet and add leeks in batches.  Fry until golden and remove onto a paper towel lined plate.  Sprinkle over soup just before serving.

Note:  Two of the three of us thought the fried leeks didn't justify adding fried food to a relatively healthy dish (if you use fat-free half and half in place of the heavy cream).  Mr. Pressed Pants, however, thought "they made the dish"!!!  You decide!!

I'm linking this with Designs by Gollum's Foodie Friday blog party.  Be sure to visit for some inspiring recipe ideas.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

What's Wrong With This Picture?????

What's wrong with this picture?  It's in Atlanta, that's what!!!!  We're experiencing unbelievable weather.  I couldn't pass up the chance to get these photos.  This is the view from the back of the house down to the lake.  Isn't it something? 

All the statuary was cloaked in snow.

Here's the view from the front of the house looking towards the road between the (dead?) boxwoods.  This is the only clearing we did.

I haven't taken the wreaths down from the garden yet.  I'm glad this one on the gate is still up, because I might use this photo for our Christmas card next year.

Here's the potting shed.

This picture is like an oxymoron come to life!

How cute is this?
Check out the post I did yesterday for
our winter "tablescape" with hot chocolate
and snowballs!

Monday, January 10, 2011

"EPIC" Winter Storm Breakfast

The Pink Pagoda
The Pink Pagoda is such a lovely blog and I follow it regularly.  Jennifer is hosting a blue and white linking party and she's particularly looking for seasonal posts, so here's my offering.  It's an old post taken during a freak snowstorm here in Georgia.  We made the most of the event and snuggled in with lots of hot chocolate and fires.  I pulled out these blue and white snowman dishes that I hadn't used in a long time.  Here's the post:
You won't believe this, but we have more snow in Atlanta!!!  This is being hailed as historic, even EPIC by the weathermen and newscasters.  Mr. Pressed Pants even closed his business today.  Actually, he never opened, as the roads are truly impassable and he didn't want any of his employees to even try to drive in this.

So this is the way the (late) breakfast table looked.  To reflect the weather, I dug out some old pottery that I haven't used in years.  I've said before that I used to be a blue and white girl, but that has changed.  However, I still have a ton of blue and white, and even though it doesn't look too hot in our green breakfast room, I really wanted to use Mr. Snowman.

I started with a tablecloth that I made years ago from Pierre Deux fabric and co-ordinating border. 

Then I used these plates that I think I got at Macy's many years ago.  They say Cooks Club on the back.  Wasn't that Macy's house brand?

I used the two sizes of plates.....

and the matching bowl.

The flatware is from some discount store, and the napkin is from the Palm restaurant line of linens that Homegoods carries.  I've had the napkin rings for years, too.  It has Blue Willow designs on it.  As a matter of fact, I think I got them at the Blue Willow Inn in Social Circle, Georgia.  (That could be another post!)

I'm really glad that I picked up these cute snowman glass coffee cups at Kroger the other day.  I just had a feeling that I "needed" them.  They were on sale for 50 cents a piece!

This thermos pot is another oldie.  I don't remember where I got it, but I love the Blue Willow design.

I served these delicious cranberry and orange muffins.....

from a box mix!!!!  I keep them on hand all the time.  They only take a sec to whip up and please note that they are "fat-free"!!!  Delish!!!  I also made hot oatmeal, but unfortunately I was out of our favorite oatmeal from Trader Joe's freezer foods.  They come two to a pack and they are the chewy, steel-cut kind.
With fat-free milk and Splenda, they are a low cal breakfast that REALLY sticks to your ribs.  You gotta try both of these!

Mr. Pressed Pants uses butter on his muffins, and I served it on this darling antique wooden butter dish with a Blue Willow china insert.  I am soooo careful of this little plate, because I know I could never find the right sized replacement if it broke.

This is cranberry apple butter in a white porcelain dish from Pier One, served with this cute white faux bois spoon from Christine's Creations.  It was a sweet store that has gone out of business in Woodstock.

After breakfast, we decided to take a walk in the snow and take some pictures of the "historic" event.  My mom sent this tray out for us with hot chocolate.  Sure wish she had known where the marshmallows were!

Sitting on the stone wall overlooking the lake, we couldn't believe how cute it was.  What's that?  Snowballs? 

 I had no desire to make a whole snowman, but couldn't resist a few snowballs. 

We wish that everyone could have stayed home today, safe and sound as we did, but by watching the news, it was obvious that that was not the case.  I hope that all those accidents were just fender benders.

So, after our brisk walk, here's what Mr. Pressed Pants did next.   

Z Z Z Z Z!!!!!!

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