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Saturday, March 31, 2012

National Tartan Day 2012

Of all of the designs that have stood the test of time, tartan has to be the most iconic.  Well, I guess I'd add Blue Willow to that list, now that I think of it.  But I worship at the feet of tartan, and I'm about giddy over National Tartan Day on April 6th.

Here's the table I set for this year's celebration.  It's sort of hard to not make this Christmasy, but I do love the masculine look it gives a table.  Must remember this for Mr. Pressed Pant's birthday.
I inspiration for this table is this set of four Ralph Lauren dessert plates in four different tartan patterns. (This is my first collage ever.  This old dog CAN learn a new trick!)

I layered each of them over a plain white ironstone plate. All of this pattern needs a place to rest your eyes.

Two different tartan runners made from cotton from the fabric store went across the table.

My Palm Restaurant white linen napkins were wrapped with three different tartan ribbons which I bought years ago in the cheap ribbon spool section of Michael's.  Wish I had more!  Then I took one thistle and tucked it into the ribbon.

Here's a close-up.

The flatware is my old standby wooden handled stuff that I use over and over.

I know that Waterford is Irish not Scottish, but hey, close enough!  

These very heavy cut glass tumblers are etched with thistles.  I bought these for a gift for a friend who loves thistles, and then "forgot" to give them to her.  After she moved away, I stopped feeling guilty about using them.

The centerpiece is an antique wooden bowl with a silver monogram plaque filled with white carnations and studded with fresh thistles.  Then I stuck loops of tartan silk ribbon in between the flowers and put little tails of it on the bottom edge.

Looks like I gathered these from out on the moors, doesn't it?  I love the way the blue/green color picks up the blue in the plaids.

I used these solid, sturdy wooden candlesticks with plain white candles.

For a little more wood to ground things, I chose these faux bois salt and pepper shakers.

A plain woven wicker wine coaster is another go-to item in my cupboards.

Makes me feel like wearing a kilt and dancing a jig.

There's a great group of bloggers who are hosting a fun blog romp.

Show Me Your Tartan! 

Four blogs.....four days!
April 1-4

I'll be posting on all four!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Good News and Bad News

Well, as much as I love, love, love spring, it surely brings good news and bad news.  Here's an image of the good news.....a beautiful dogwood tree that grows at the top of our pond and waterfall on the lower terrace of our back yard.

And the bad news.......THE POLLEN!!!!  I took these photos last week and the pollen count was over 9,000!!!  Yep nine thousand!  BTW, anything above 1,000 is considered "very high".  That means grains of pollen per cubit feet of air.

I know....blah....blah....blah.  Grains, cubits, etc.  What is means is this: a mess. A yellow, pervasive, incessant mess.  This glass top on one of our outdoor tables had been wiped down completely two days before.  And here you see the results of two days of pollen. 

This phenomenon leads several of the Seven Dwarfs to inhabit the body of someone who lives in this home.  (Not me, not me!) Sneezy and Grumpy have possessed Mr. Pressed Pants. We can stand on our deck and watch clouds of yellow pollen swirl across the backyard.  The answer is rain.  So when can we see some?

Friday, March 23, 2012

Wisteria and Polka Dots

Ah!  Springtime in Georgia!  I never had wisteria before I moved here.  I can't believe how it grows wild along the road and into the trees.  We have this tree in our front yard that is putting on the most incredible display.  Please, please, please ignore the pock-marked grass.  I had a fight consultation with my landscaper about it yesterday.  You can see how I set the table so differently with wisteria last season here.

I thought we'd have dinner on a card table in front of it last night, but as I was setting it up, the bumblebees were swarming so  badly that I just knew that Mr. Pressed Pants would have nothing to do with it.  So.....I never bothered with the chairs.  I just set the table, snapped some photos and ran!

Lavender and spring green seemed just the right choice, especially since the dishes were melamine.

I made this tablecloth from Waverly fabric years and years ago.

So last year, when I saw these dishes at Target, I scooped them up and used them here with this flatware from World Market.

The co-ordinating fabric made cute napkins with green frosted napkin rings and a sprig of wisteria.

The glassware is pale purple but I can't remember where I got it.

Pretty fun, huh?
But what's up with that knife?

I didn't need much of a centerpiece, but I did grab this green wire vase and put some wisteria in it.  Too bad that it doesn't last very long.  It gets even droopier than it normally is.

Oh, the scent!

Makes me sort of weak-kneed.

Graceful and lovely.

Even the scattered petals have their own beauty.

Look at the tree trunk.  It has looked like this for five years, so it is apparently healthy, just full of character.

When I stepped around the back of the tree, this is what I saw!  Surprise!  It is exactly the way I found it.  Pinky swear!  Isn't the discovery of this a perfect gift?

Pollen be damned!  I wanted to eat outside!


Check out the blog party at:

Thursday, March 22, 2012

The End of the Rainbow

On the afternoon of March 17, (yes, St. Patrick's Day), we experienced a pop-up rainstorm.  The sun was shining brightly and I thought I would look for a rainbow.  Usually, they show up high in the sky, but as I looked outside, I thought I saw one in our back yard.  I quickly snapped this photo from inside the breakfast room.

As I stepped outside onto the deck, it got brighter and brighter.

I'm not sure that you can see it here, but our across-the-lake neighbors have two gold colored Adirondack chairs on their dock, and the rainbow ended just at the chairs!

It looked like the chairs were the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow!

What an incredible sight this was!

I kept snapping pictures as it faded, because I never want to forget this beautiful gift.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Bunny Boules

I took this to a party tonight as my contribution for the appetizer.  As a matter of fact, I've already made it twice this spring, and it has been a big hit both times.  It was easy as can be.  It's a large bread round, a small one, and a baguette made into a bunny and filled with spinach dip.  Then just surround it with veggies and in just a few minutes, you have a fun way to serve an appetizer.  I found the basic idea on Pinterest, but I've lost my notes about the source.

Who wouldn't love this face?  I used Kalamata olives to make a nose and eyes and added some very small birch sticks for whiskers.

I haven't made spinach dip in ages, but I always used to use Knorr's dry vegetable soup mix for it.  I looked for it at two different grocery stores and I couldn't find Knorr's products at all, except for bouillon.  Have they stopped making it?  I substituted Lipton's and it was very good.  I also used light sour cream and mayo.  Times change, right?  This might even make children want to eat their vegetables.

You might see this post at:

Cuisine Kathleen's new Wednesday blog

Monday, March 19, 2012

Springtime At Mary Janet's

Today I decided to do a simple trayscape in my sweet friend's yard.  The tray was actually just an excuse to visit her and photograph this exquisite display of springtime.  She is very generous to give all of the credit for this beauty to her husband, Cy, but a project of this scope probably takes the efforts of both of them.

This bedtray reflects the soft springtime colors.  I used vintage LuRay china on a cutwork placemat.  I usually use this china for our Easter dinner.  You can see a post of our retro Easter dinner from last year here.

Is there a house like this in your neighborhood?  With swaths of tulips and daffodils?

This is a beautiful, historic area of Atlanta with gracious lawns and beautiful homes.

And, come spring, the entire area waits for these blooms.  People even bring their grandchildren here to get their Easter photos.  

Our spring is so early this year that I almost missed the window to get this post.

This guy seems to be proudly surveying the expanse of florals.

I moved the tray from the tulips over to this incredible azalea for a quick shot or two.

I can't imagine a more beautiful background for this tray.


Between the house and the garage, they have made this charming area with fencing, an arbor, and a brick floor.

Look at these great pots.

I can't remember what vine they have on this trellis, but don't you love the shape of it?

These boxwoods will stay, but our Georgia weather will necessitate pulling those pansies out and replanting this window box on the garage.

This lovely pond is centered so that you see it through a huge Palladian window in their family room.

Some of the beauty was unintentional......

but lovely, never the less.

I'll shut up now so that you can just take a virtual tour.

This display is a gift to the city and people talk about it every year.  Cy actually lifts these bulbs and replants new ones every year.  Imagine!
Thank you, Mary Janet and Cy.  I've been waiting and waiting to be able to feature this. And thank you, also for the beautiful bouquet you sent home with me.

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