Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Tablescape Thursday

This is my first time participating in Tablescape Thursday
. I wasn't sure if I had photos to participate but it turns out that I do. Tablescape Thursday is hosted by Susan at BETWEEN NAPS ON THE PORCH. Thank you Susan, I am finding this to be fun and am looking forward to seeing everyone else's tablescapes. What a wealth of ideas we will find. If you click here it will take you to everyone participating in Tablescape Thursday.

I love to do dinner parties in my dining room and this was one I did not too long ago that I would like to share.

I love how my Schonbeck chandelier with the cherry red walls looks when the lights are on the the red dangles in the prisms. I also have this chandelier on a dimmer so I can soften the light.If you click on the photo you can enlage it and in this particular photo there is a handpainted Vietri piece in the corner.

For this particular dinner party I used my Waterford, Harcourt dinner plates, Anna Weatherly Salad Plates, Grand Baroque silver, the wine glass is also Anna Weatherly, Varga stemware and I also used napkin rings from my antique silver napkin ring collection.

My salad plates are also a collection that I have collected for several years and each plate is different. The same is true for the Varga stemware, each one is a different color but each of them have butterflies and bees etched on them.

The flower arrangement I did myself and all the flowers came from my garden.

I hope you have enjoyed visiting me for this Tablescape Thursday and I know I will enjoy visiting each of you. Thank you so much for visiting my blog.

My Furry Friend

Sometimes you just have to talk about your furry friends. I lost my two dogs and I had had them for fourteen years. I waited about a year before getting another pet. When I decided that the time was right I became interested in Cavalier King Charles Spaniels. I read up on the breed and had a couple of books by Charles Faudree. Faudree is an internationaly known interior decorator who also has Cavaleirs and he has photos of his Cavaliers in his books. I am also a big fan of Charles Faudree. I decided that was the breed for me.

These were the pics I saw online the very first time I saw her and it was LOVE at first sight. I did look at other Cavaliers but I knew she was the dog for me. It was a nice fit because she was already trained. The first time I went to see her I took her a blanket with my scent on it. The day I picked her up to bring her home she remembered me and still carries that blanket around.

She was seven months old when I got her and the breeder had planned to "show" her. As she got older it was determined that she was not show quailty so the breeder decided to sell her. The moment I laid eyes on her I fell in love.

She loves to sit in my favorite chair.

Wherever I am that is where Mis Scarlet will be.

And here she is today. She is the dearest little fur friend and my constant companion. It's a "Good Thing".

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Metamorphosis Monday

I am new to blogging but many of the blogs I visit participate in Metamorphosis Monday and I thought it was time that I participated as well. Metamorphosis Monday is hosted by Susan at

This past year we have gone through some major changes in our lives and in our home. I wanted to share the changes we made in my kitchen. As the center piece of our home litterally, it is central to our house, and after living in our home for 28 years we felt the need to update. We tore down walls, ceiling and reconfigured the entire kitchen.

We updated once before about ten years ago but decided to make major changes this time. I had a very nice kitchen when we began this project but there were so many things I wanted to change.

I had the upper glass front cabinets that I dearly love but I also had a saufett above the cabinets that I was told was a very dated look. More than that we wanted to add a gas cooktop, a large sub-zero refrigerator and I had my mind set on a few other decorative ideas.

I did keep some of the decorative things in my kitchen and kept a similar color scheme but oh what a change. I will let it speak for itself.

What was once the breakfast area soon became the center piece of our kitchen. I found this French Antique Pastry Table and we decorated our kitchen around this piece. Oh BTW, the breakfast area got move to the room beyond these cabinets. This gave me more storage and defined the space. The light fixture is an early 1800's piece that was originally a gas piece and it was converted to electric.

It also allowed me some additonal places for my cookbooks which was much needed since I am constantly adding to my collection.

I LOVE my new sub-zero and the light fixtures are two that I found online, Bell Jar Lanterns. I felt they complimented the gas/electric piece very well.

I had an island before but we made this one more narrow to accomodate the sub-zero. The wood surface on the island is called Zebra Wood and it comes from Africa.

My new gas cook top is a Wolf. I have my entire married life used an electric cooktop and I have been married for forty years. I thought this would be quite an adjustment but I found that it was not.

Above the cooktop is one of my most treasured pieces. The mural is called "Three French Hens" and it was hand painted in England.

My farmhouse sink and I must say that when people see my new kitchen this is what they comment on most often. I do in fact love this sink with the side drain. The herb wreath in the window was a gift from three very special friends as a reminder for hosting them for a gathering at the beach. The countertops are Vermont Soapstone and it goes with the Zebra Wood very nicely.

I am enjoying my new kitchen and will share as time goes on some of my culinary adventures.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Southerner's and Their Front Porches

I can remember as a young girl going to visit my great grandmother with my grandmother and on occassion we would spend the night. She lived in a little country community that couldn't have been more than an hours drive from my home but when we made that trip it seemed like ten hours to me who at the time was very young. Now an hour doesn't seem like a very long time. Funny how that changes as you get older????

One of my favorite things to do while visiting my great grandmother was to sit on her front porch while sipping iced tea and shelling peas and butter beans. We would have the most interesting chats and watch people go by down an old country road. Oh what fond memories.

I can honestly say that I enjoy my front porch as much as I did when I was a child on my great grandmothers porch. I'm not sure if it is a Southern "thing" or not but I dearly love whiling away the time late in the afternoon watching all my neighbors drive by or watching joggers pass in front of my house or just merely watching people walk by as they walk their dogs. It is a fun pass time.

Sometimes I enjoy sitting on the front porch reading a book or my latest magazine in my rocking chair. My favorite thing to do is to have cocktails sitting in the rocking chairs especially if there is a cool breeze out.

Or if I have some time on my hands I love to sit on the swing and just relax. Either way, having a big front porch is a "good thing." I think I am off to have my cocktail with my husband on our front porch. He enjoys it as much as I do.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Easter thoughts for the Notebook

Easter has come and gone but I will share some of our family's Easter Sunday.

In our home a Cointreau Cake is a tradition. I found this recipe many years ago in a cookbook by Camille Glenn, The Heritage of Southern Cooking. I believe it is still being printed and now in a paperback edition. It is a book that I refer to often but this cake is quite simply outstanding and different. The cake and the frosting have Cointreau in it along with some orange juice. The cake is like an angel food cake, very light and the texture is delightful.

This year I also made some cupcakes for the grand children. The recipe came from one of my favorite cookbooks,The Barefoot Contessa by Ina Garten. This was Ina's first book and I made her Coconut Cupcakes.

The favorite of the grown ups is still Cointreau Cake and I decorated the cake and the cupcakes with pansies from my garden.

Easter Sunday was a beautiful sunny day with a nice breeze so I decided to serve our dinner on our screened porch with another table set on the adjoining patio. I think my family enjoyed the casualness of the holiday.

The green of my tablecloth of choice seemed to scream casual and Easter. I used napkins of the same fabric but had gold bugs and butterflies as napkin rings. Each napkin ring was a different bug or butterfly. The salad plates were some I bought from Nell Hills in Atchison, KS and some have butterflies and some have birds but all in black and white and they were perfect sitting on my plain white Vilroy and Boch plates. My silver ware is Hotel silver that I have collected and use for everyday use.

A close up of the bird salad plates in black and white.

We ended the day with not one but three Easter Egg Hunts. The grandchildren never tire of hunting Easter Eggs. I hope you all had a memorable Easter as I have. Here is the recipe for my favorite cake and that of my family.

Golden Cointreau Cake

8 large eggs
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/3 cup fresh orange juice
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp. Cointreau
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cream of tartar

1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

2. Separate the eggs. Put the yolks in one large mixing bowl and the whites in another large mixing bowl.

3. Beat the egg yolks with an electric mixer until they have thickened and are smooth. Beat in the sugar slowly, then continue beating until the mixture turns a lighter shade of yellow and is smooth. Add the orange juice and blend thoroughly.

4. Measure the flour, then sift it twice. Sprinkle the sifted flour over the egg yolk mixture and gently fold it in by hand with a whisk or a rubber spatula, or with the electric mixer on a very low speed. Fold in the Cointreau and vanilla.

5. Add the salt to the egg whites and beat until they begin to turn white and foamy. Add the cream of tartar and continue to beat until the egg whites hold a stiff peak but are not dry and grainy, about 4 minutes more.

6. Fold a few sthingyfuls of the egg whites into the batter to lighten it. Then add the remaining egg whites to the batter, gently folding them in.

7. Sthingy the batter into a 10 X 4 1/2-inch ungreased angel food cake pan (a tube pan with a removable bottom). The pan should be no more than three-quarters full. Place the cake pan on the middle shelf of the oven and bake until a cake tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, or until the cake springs back at once when lightly touched, about 1 1/4 hours.

8. Remove the cake from the oven, turn it upside down on the tube pan legs, and allow it to rest overnight before frosting.

9. Loosen the cake with a thin sharp knife and unmold it. Put the cake on a plate or on a flat surface covered with waxed paper or foil. Spread the frosting over the cake.


8 tablesthingys (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
3 3/4 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
1/8 teasthingy salt
1 large egg yolk
6-8 tablesthingys Cointreau, or more as needed

1. Put the butter in a large mixing bowl.
Add the confectioners' sugar and salt. Beat well with an electric mixer. Add the egg yolk, then slowly add 6 tablesthingys of the Cointreau. Continue to beat the frosting until it is smooth, thick, and pliable, 3 minutes. Add more Cointreau as needed; it usually takes at least 8 tablesthingys. This frosting must be thick.

2. Frost the cake generously in a swirl design. Allow the frosting to firm for 30 minutes, then lift the cake to a serving platter.

This is also lovely garnished with half slices of oranges. It is a delicious cake and I think something really special. There is also a side note that it freezes beautifully even frosted. She also suggests that the frozen slices are quite good served as is with coffee. This I've never tried.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Easter decorations

This year because of my daughter's wedding I did not put up all my Easter decorations. I had to put up a few because my grandchildren love my Easter decorations so. I would like to share what I did manage take down from the attic and placed in their spots.

My mantle in our family room. These bunnies were a great find a couple of years ago while traveling and having lunch at a Cracker Barrel Restaurant. I have found many seasonal decorations there at good prices and well made. The Egg Trees and Egg Wreath were a special find while I was visiting my daughter at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa. The gift shop where I found them was one I use to visit often. Hard to see for sure but in the green grass are two German large etched glass eggs.

This is my front door entry table. A few weeks ago I found this antique basket at a local antique shop and could not reisist. Also couldn't resist the tall charming bunny sitting in the basket. I decided the basket needed some greenery so I added a small plant of my favorite lime green philidendron. The white hydrangeas were placed on the table during the wedding and they are still looking great. I will give them a fresh cut every few days and freshen the water with some preservative in it and they should last for several weeks.

Back door guests are truly special so to greet them I have my seasonal Lizzie High Doll sitting on the table as one comes in the back door. I have collected Lizzie High Dolls for many years and whatever the season there will be a doll on that table to signify the season or whatever our family is doing at the time.

This is my most "SPECIAL" Easter decoration because it was made by my mother more than fifty years ago. My grandmother owned a ceramic shop so this was therapy for my mother. It was a "SPECIAL" piece to my Dad as well and being the oldest daughter he gave it to me. A cherished treasure.

I have so many more Easter decorations, from an Easter Dept.56 scene to a multitude of bunnies but this year I was so very busy with my daughters wedding that these were all I managed to get up. They do bring me a great deal of pleasure. The simple things in life.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Bridesmaids Luncheon

My daughter was married last Saturday, March 28. On Friday, March 27 I gave the Bridesmaids Luncheon and included all the bridesmaids(there were ten), their mothers and the grooms mother and grandmothers. We had twenty four people for the luncheon.

When I was married almost forty years ago, my mother did my bridesmaids luncheon also. It was important to me to carry on that tradition but also I wanted to have at least one function at the home where my daughter was raised. She was two when we built our home 28 years ago.

A very dear friend always does a menu card when she does a luncheon and I chose to do the same. This is a friend who always gives me lots of inspiration. I ordered menu cards from Carolyne Roehm and they were white with a blue edge as this was the color scheme. I also ordered from her the place cards that a friend of mine had done in calligraphy. I used Fleur d Lis silver place card holders that I ordered from Nell Hills in Atchinson, KS. The place settings would not be complete without my collection of antique sterling silver napkin rings with my collection of white antique napkins inside them. I also used my fine china, stemware and hotel silver. I had servers serving the plates from the kitchen and then serving our guests after we had our soup which was served from the buffet in the same room. I also did the flower arrangements on each table. I used clear crystal round rose bowls filled with shades of white roses and they sat on blue silk pin tucked table cloths. I also rented the mahogany chavari chairs for the occasion.

It was intended to be a Garden Party Bridesmaids Luncheon but unfortunately Mother Nature did not co-operate. I had worked for months getting my garden in pristine condition for this luncheon. So because of rain we had to go to Plan "B". We removed all furniture from my family room so we would have room for the round tables.

As guests arrived we served Mimosa's and coffee from the screened porch.

My kicked up version of Mimosa's.

Rim champagne flutes with Grand Marnier, then in superfine sugar, let dry over night. To each flute fill about half with champagne, half with orange juice and a splash or two of Grand Marnier. This is a mighty fine Mimosa.

Everyone had a wonderful time. I had the lunch catered with the exception of a Chilled Cucumber Soup with Shrimp. This is a recipe that came from one of my favorite cookbook authors, Ina Garten and from her latest book,Back To Basics. I will share this recipe. I highly recommend it for a Spring or Summer Luncheon. It is delicious. I served this soup from an antique glass punch bowl that was sitting on a pedestal and used the matching cups. Unfortunately, I failed to get a photo of it. I will get better at this with time, hopefully.

Chilled Cucumber Soup With Shrimp

Serves 6

3 (7-ounce) containers Greek yogurt
1 cup half-and-half
2 hothouse cucumbers, unpeeled, seed and chopped
1/2 cup chopped red onion
6 scallions, white and green parts, chopped
4 teaspoons kosher salt
1-1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (4 lemons)
1/2 pound cooked large shrimp, halved (see note)
Thin slices of lemon, halved, for garnish
Fresh dill, for garnish

In a large mixing bowl, stir together the yogurt, half-and-half, cucumbers, red onion, scallions, salt, and pepper. Transfer the mixture in batches to the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Process until the cucumbers are coarsely pureed and then pour into another bowl. Continue processing the soup until all of it is pureed. Fold in the dill, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, until very cold.

Just before serving, stir in the lemon juice. Serve chilled, garnished with the shrimp, lemon, and fresh dill.

Wedding Blues

Since October of last year I have gone through a kitchen remodel and if that wasn't enough going on in my life I was also planning my only daughter's wedding. That wedding took place last Saturday evening, March 28. During all that fun I got so frustrated with my blog that I deleted it for various reasons. Mostly because I was unable to give it the time that I wanted to but I am now back blogging.

I do have wedding blues. For months now that has been my main focus and I am finding it difficult trying to get life back to normal. That begs the question, what exactly is normal????? I'm sure I don't know but hopefully I will now begin to stop and smell the roses.

I wanted to share a little bit about my daughter's wedding.This is a photo of where the ceremony had actually been planned to take place. This is a historical plantation not far from our home, Pebble Hill Plantation in South Georgia. The grounds are beautifully well kept and the timing was perfect for an outdoor ceremony completely surrounded with blooming azalea's, white bridal wreath spirea and a host of other blooming Spring plants.However, Mother Nature had a different plan. It stormed on the day of the wedding with tornado warnings up all around us. We made the decision to put up a second tent for the ceremony. We had always planned on a huge tent for the reception since it would be after dark and putting up a tent for the ceremony proved to be a wise decision.

These are some photos of where the ceremony took place.

A garden area was built by a friend of mine who did all the flowers. Keeping in mind this beautiful plantation area.

A close up of the unity candle and it's presentation.

The aisle markers.

Could not leave out the Bride's bouquet which I myself made for her. It was something very special for me and of course, my daughter appreciated it so much. At the base of the bouquet is a pen that belonged to my mother who passed many years ago. I felt a part of her was with us.

The ring bearer's pillows. There were two and they were my twin grandson's who looked dapper in their black jackets, grey pants, white button down collered shirts with their black/grey/blue ties. They are only seven years old and we didn't want to have them in tuxedo's to look just like the grown men.

Sooooooooo, this is just a glimpse of the planning and how I have been spending most of my time for the past few months. I hope to post everyday on my blog with photos of entertaining, preparing good food and my gardening pleasures.