Friday, July 31, 2009

Pink Saturday...It's Jessies's Birthday!

Beverly at is our hostess for this weekly event and the Queen of Pink! Jessie Bell is our sweet little Shih Tzu and we are celebrating her birthday this week!

Jessie loves to dress up in her little pink dress! Did I buy a special dress for her birthday? Of course not!--I bought it for Easter :) I think she knows it's her special day--she's posing. I instructed her to give you her dreamy faraway look--She wants to be taken seriously!

While Jessie does like her dresses--hats--not so much. You know, not everyone looks good in a hat. I understand. Hats are not great on me either and the apple doesn't usually fall far from the tree. I bought it at a darling store called Bark Avenue.

In honor of Jessie's third birthday, I baked her and a couple of close friends several small birthday cakes. Her green cookies were a gift from her friend, Tazee Mae, the Yorkie. Even southern dogs have double names!

Jessie is such a lady. She let her guest have the first bite. Taz wore her pink jeweled collar in honor of the occasion!

Jessie's Birthday Cake Recipe

1 cup white or whole wheat flour, 1 tsp. baking soda, 1/4 cup peanut butter, 1 cup grated carrots, 1/3 tsp. vanilla, 1/3 cup honey. Combine all ingredients. I baked these in greased creme brulee` ramekins. Bake at 350 for about 20 minutes. "Frost" with tinted cottage cheese.

I have one question---Do you think I need grandchildren?

Have a great Saturday!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Tablescape Thursday...Holy Moly Tablscape

Susan at Between Naps on the Porch is hosting her 49th Tablscape Thursday. Can you believe it?!! She has been inviting us to enjoy her tables and share ours for almost a year of Thursdays. You can click on the TT button for the express trip to join her! My tablescape for today almost didn't happen. I am not by nature a "keeper". My motto is if you don't use it,"get rid of it". So before I started blogging and tablescaping I almost decided to load this up and give it to charity. But indecision lead me to keep it just a little while longer. Thank goodness! Holy Moly! I almost gave this away! This almost ended up in Goodwill!
When I was a young bride to be, my friends and I all picked out three patterns: good china, everyday, and an "in between". The "in between" was company china--not for meatloaf on a Tuesday or turkey on Christmas Day--just in between. This is my pattern, Perouges by Longchamp. Many of my friends had the same pattern and we all just called it Yellow Bird. I received eight place settings and several lovely serving pieces. Later, when one of my dear friends went through a bitter divorce, she gave me all of her Perouges. (Thank you Mr. Cheater Cheater Pumpkin Eater!). I now have place settings for 13 with LOTS of serving pieces!

I always start with flowers. The hydrangeas are silk; the yellow roses are from the sale bin at Kroger--as always. The urn is leftover from the wedding reception.

The "in between" is just right for having dinner guests. We'll start out with a nice cold soup since I have the bowls. The salad will go on its own plate. I love that this will go in the dishwasher.

I combined Dollar Tree glasses with Waterford crystal. The Lismore wine hocs will add that "company" touch. The Target birds, well-rested from their honeymoon, were anxious to get back to work!

Crystal candle pillars and votive holders will provide soft lighting.

The flatware is "First Love" by International, a silverplate pattern I found still in the silver chest while cleaning out my father and mother's house. It's perfect for in between--not stainless; not sterling.

After dinner I'll be serving fruit and coffee from the small sideboard in the breakfast room. I have the teapot if you prefer tea instead.

On a whim, I decided to check out for this china pattern. Holy Moly! The dinner plates are now selling for $119.95! I didn't even add up all the serving pieces. I believe the company that made it no longer exists. The back of the plate does say "Hand painted in France". At these prices do you think they were painted by Renoir or Monet?!! Don't bother checking the Goodwill Thrift Store anytime soon for this china--I'm hanging on to this! Don't forget to click over for more tablescapes with Susan!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Outdoor Wednesday....Decorating with the Animals

Susan at a Southern Daydreamer invites us over each Wednesday to share the great outdoors with her and lots of others who share her love for our beautiful world! You can stroll through at Over the weekend I had out of town guests. One of the things I love about houseguests is that they remind me to look at my own hometown as a visitor again--to take advantage of sites and things to do that I have begun to take for granted. We love the zoos, but I have not visited strictly to see the animal exhibits in quite a while. When my guest's daughter expressed interest, I jumped at the chance to see zoo again and through fresh eyes!

It's hot here and we were luck to see so many animals out--even though they were resting in the shade. No wonder giraffe print fabric is all the rage! Wouldn't that make a scrumptious chair--not the real thing, just the pattern :)?

The flamingos playing in their pool were another favorite. I love pink and green together. How about a tablescape centered around pink and green featuring flamingos?

The gardens at the zoo are gorgeous and well tended. Wouldn't this water garden make a beautiful poster? Lori at is offering a giveaway to make one of your photos into a poster. I think this one would do for me!

The zoo has recently added a Birds and Bees exhibit. I'm helping my daughter redo a bedroom in these colors--guess Someone Else thought it was a good color combo before me :)

There is also an aquarium. This little fish is in the same colors as my guest bedroom. I love blue and yellow together!

Do you think zebra print makes a better chair or would it be best as a rug? I like black and white together---so fresh and basic. But there are other pattern options.

How about black and white with green as an accent color? Our zoo is one of only four in the country with Giant Pandas. We were lucky enough to catch them at feeding time. I was amazed at their size!

Sometimes I think a room or a tablescape is beautiful in all white. There is something so elegant about a monochromatic color scheme. I guess there really is nothing new under the sun. It appears that mother nature beat us to the punch when it comes to decorating!

One last picture of the zoo--this one at night in June. Our daughter's wedding reception was held in the courtyard of the zoo. It's even prettier at night. I told you I loved the zoo!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Three or More Tuesday....The Top Ten

Tam At The Gypsy's Corner is hosting the 37th Three or More Tuesday! After your visit please join her and a list of participants to see what collections others are sharing. Today I'm not sharing a personal collection but rather a collection of ten that I PERSONALLY got to see on Sunday night....the top ten American Idol contestants!!

I've been an American Idol fan since the second season. I can't sing a note on key, but I love music of all types and styles. Besides that, I love a "girl or boy makes good" story. This week the top 2009 contestants appeared at the Fedex Forum in Memphis and I was right there with them--all the swooning little girls in sequin high tops, the rabid Adam fans, and some slightly embarrassed boyfriends and husbands. It was a sold-out concert in a venue that seats about 18,000. It didn't hurt that Kris Allen is from Conway, Arkansas right across the river and Lil Rounds is home-grown talent! The atmosphere was electric! The show featured the top ten from ten down singing solos with a few duets and a couple of group numbers rounding it out. The production itself was a visual light show and huge monitors provided closeups.

Lil got the crowd really moving with "If You Want it Then You Better Put a Ring on It"! The road seems to agree with her--she looked great and sounded much more controlled and relaxed than she did during the season. Anoop and Scott were also favorites. Scott and Matt did an amazing piano duet with Matt adopting his Justin Timberlake swagger and hat. Danny Gokey was surely a favorite. But you could tell...everyone was waiting.... and waiting...for Adam and Kris.

Adam stayed true to his image. He wore his jet black hair slicked back in a bouffant Elvis style Memphians have grown to love as with all things Elvis. The blue eye shadow was bluer and the eye liner was thicker than on television appearances. And of course, the pelvic thrusts...well let's just say they might have made even Elvis blush :). I loved his performance of "Mad World, a haunting song on a smoke-filled stage. He and Allison repeated their duet "Slow Ride". It's hard to believe that little red headed spitfire is seventeen years old. She performs like a seasoned veteran and the two brought the house down! Finally, the cute little guy from Conway Arkansas appeared. The youth minister the girls love and swoon over. The cute guy whose cheeks you want to pinch. The boy next door in the plaid shirt and sneakers.

Kris sang his new single "Heartless". I think this small town boy had better get used to fame and fortune! He is a gifted musican who seems to connect with the audience whether he playing his guitar or behind a piano.

The entire group wrapped it up with "Hey Jude". I loved every minute of it and it left me a little lonesome for Ryan, Paula, Randy, Kara, and even Simon. I think the group was well-received and given big southern welcome from a city with a rich musical history.

The entire group visited Graceland (the home of Elvis). I had to wonder as they ended their performance and left the stage: Were they dreaming of hearing their own version of "Elvis has left the building" ? :) Thanks for visiting. Tam has lots more at .

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Foodie Friday...Real Southern Cornbread

Michael is our gracious hostess for this weekly event. Whether she's cooking or "doctoring" food from the grocery store she always has wonderful ideas and beautiful photographs. Click on the Foodie Friday button to visit her and the list of those participating this week. If you've been making your moma's moma's cornbread for years and are happy with it you can just go ahead and click. But if you think yours could use a little tweaking or Heaven forbid you've never made cornbread at all, keep reading!

The most important requirement is a well-seasoned black iron skillet. Now a good skillet is a little like money: the easiest way to get it is to inherit it. But do not despair if you don't have one. It will require a little time, but you can have one. Then YOUR children can fight over it! New cast iron skillets don't come that wonderful rich black color. The new one will be gray looking. Wash the new skillet to remove any film. Using a paper towel, coat the skillet generously with vegetable oil, lard, or bacon grease. Place the coated skillet in a preheated oven of about 250-350 degrees. Just leave it in the oven for about two hours. The purpose is to allow the oil to seap into the pores of the cast iron. This should get you started and the skillet will improve with use and time. Remember, never wash it with anything harsher than a cloth and mild dish liquid and always dry it thoroughly.

To make the cornbread mix 1 cup of white cornmeal, 1 tablespoon flour, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon baking powder, and 1/2 teaspoon baking soda. Stir in 1 cup of buttermilk, 1 egg, and 1 tablespoon vegetable oil. Now this is the important part: heat about 2 tablespoon of vegetable oil in the skillet to just sizzling on top of the stove. Pour the batter into the sizzling oil This is what makes a crispy crust! Bake at 425 degrees about 20-25 minutes.

Serve immediately. Go ahead. You've gone this far. Get out the real butter :) Happy Foodie Friday and enjoy!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Outdoor Wednesday..Hummingbirds You Won't Believe

I'm glad Susan at A Southern Daydreamer is back and hosting Outdoor Wednesday again! She's been kind enough to host even when her life got crazy! Thank you Susan! I recently received these pictures via email. Ordinarily, I would not post third hand information, but these are extraordinary! Don't worry--cynic that I am about email, I checked this out with They are real and not the product of "photo enhancement".

These pictures were taken by Sam and Abigail Alfano who live in Pine, Louisiana. It seems they live in what is called a "fly zone" for hummingbird migration. According to her, she decided to sit down with a cup of the bird nectar one morning as she was filling it. This is the result!

I've noticed that hummingbirds seem to adapt to people and pets. I am convinced that the same ones visit our house year after year. In fact, I named them long before I named my Target bird couple--Humphrey and Henrietta Hummingbird (I like everything to have a name and am partial to alliteration).

Can you imagine? This is just amazing to me. I'm a little squeamish about birds up close and personal, but I think even I would have tried to sit still for this! Join Susan for a list of participants at and have a wonderful Wednesday!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Metamorphosis Monday and Thrifty Treasures....A Frontgate Look at Garden Ridge Prices

I missed you! We spent a glorious week at the beach with perfect weather and lots of seafood, but as Dorothy said, "There's no place like home"! Fortunately, I have a place at home that helps me get back in that relaxed beach mode and frame of mind, and I've been dying to show you! I am going to link this to the Metamorphosis Queen, Susan at Between Naps on the Porch and also to Rhoda at Southern Hospitality for Thrifty Treasures . I think it will qualify for both: it certainly was a change and I did it my favorite way--on sale!

Periodically, I receive a Frontgate catalog in the mail. I open, I drool, I toss it in the recycling bin. Frontgate prices make Beloved nervous! Ahh, the catalog may be in the trash, but the memory lingers. I casually mentioned at the end of last summer that I would like to "redo" the deck in black, white and red. We bought the furniture with a hunter green finish and have had a multitude of cushions through the years. It was looking a little tired and worn out. Since we were in the middle of wedding planning (not to mention wedding bills), I never gave it another thought....until I went to Garden Ridge for some wedding supplies! There were the Frontgate look -alike cushions of my dreams and they were marked 25 percent off! Beloved bought them for our anniversary! I think I might have mentioned to him that the traditional gift for the 32nd anniversary was cushions :).

The Saturday one week before the wedding, Beloved showed up with five cans of black spray paint and offered to move the furniture so I could paint it---(I said he was sweet, not handy!). It seems the Home Depot clerk had told him that would be plenty of paint and the job would take no time at all. Frankly, if I didn't love the end result so much I'd turn that salesman in! Twelve hours and about twenty cans more of black spray paint and the job was done.

In retrospect, there was probably an easier way to do it. I have arthritis in my hands and thought for a while I might have to do the job over the course of several days--my trigger finger kept cramping up. Then one of neighbors show up with this little helper and it was a positive life and hand saver! These little gadgets cost under three dollars and are worth every penny!

I recovered the seat cushions for the bistro table with red outdoor fabric that I found on sale half price at Joann's. 3/4 of yard of fabric per cushion and a staple gun made this an easy project.

I repurposed some wicker from a sunroom in a previous house. I painted this chair black and just happened to have been given the perfect red and white polka dot flower pot!

I used the wicker love seat in the breezeway by my back door. I decided to leave it white to separate it from the deck furniture. It's the perfect place to sit and change into my yard shoes or sort the mail.

I think we got pretty close to the Frontgate look I had in mind for a fraction of the cost! You can click on the Met Monday button to visit Susan and see what others have to offer. Visit Rhoda for more Thrifty Treasures at There really is no place like home :).

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Gone to the Beach

We are headed out with the whole family to the beach tomorrow---finally! I saw this clip art courtesy of Karen at The Graphics Fairy and just knew you had to see I'll try to take those socks off to prevent a tan line :) I'll miss you, but I'll be back next weekend! You can visit Karen at Have a great week! "Til then.....

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Tablescape Thursday....Elegant Luncheon Buffet

I don't know about you, but summer and hot weather make me just a little lazy. You can call it heat induced lethargy, but it's still just lazy. Susan, our friend at Between Naps on the Porch doesn't seem to suffer from this malady! She's busy as a bee setting tables, taking walking tours, and snapping pictures! Please visit her to see this week's creative tables!

I belong to a women's organization founded in 1914. This organization is dedicated to providing scholarships and interest-free loans to young men and women who need financial assistance for college or graduate education. Over the years hundreds of young people have been able to achieve their dreams with the assistance of this group. That said, this group of women is also one talented group of decorators and cooks! Each month we meet in a member's home for our monthly business meeting and are then treated to lunch by alternating hostesses. This is a picture of the table at our May meeting.

Lots of our members are active garden club members also. The flower arrangements at these luncheons amaze me. The main centerpiece for this table is made from double begonias and potted geraniums. The butterflies hanging from the chandelier are from Hobby Lobby. See that cute butterfly net on the table? This is a "light" luncheon-- mainly salads and finger sandwiches. The sideboard, however, is another story. It is laden with decadent desserts! Each month the hostess and her team come up with a different theme. Thanks for letting me off the hook with my own table setting---I'm busy packing for the beach. Join Susan at to see what her faithful contributors have come up with this week!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Met Monday.... A Wicked Metamorphosis

Susan At Between Naps on the Porch is gracious enough to host this event each Monday. And I admit, I know....I'm pushing it. But this is just too good not to share. I've had a lifelong love of "The Wizard of Oz". Remember when it came on just once a year before the days of VCR's, DVD's, Blockbuster, and Netflix? I was that kid transfixed to the tv. I can't begin to tell you how often I've seen it. My favorite song is "Somewhere over the Rainbow" and it took me about a whole minute to decide on a name for this Blog. So, when I started hearing about "Wicked -The Untold Story of the Witches of Oz", the musical, I knew I had to see it. It's advertised as "what happens before Dorothy dropped in" and is based on a novel by Gregory Maguire. It is the background story of Galinda the good witch of the North and Elfaba the future wicked witch of the West. This is the original Glinda played by Billie Burke in the 1939 original.

Here is a picture of the original green wicked witch of the West played by Margaret Hamilton. She still scares me :).

Now fast forward 70 years and take a look at Galinda and Elfaba in 2009! Beloved and I were fortunate enough to have seats on row 15 this afternoon! Both my sons and their girlfriends attended with us. The newlyweds went last week! Love of broadway and showtunes runs in our family!

This musical is a little dark...not the land of rainbows and munchkins but a story of social injustice, romance, and twisted perceptions with a lot of humor thrown in for good measure. The music, scenery, and songs are unbelievable! I have included a video from the Tony awards with a performance by Kristin Chenowith and Idina Menzel. Click on my playlist to stop the regular music (I could NOT figure out how without removing the whole thing)! I hope if you get the chance you'll see this different trip to Oz and you agree with my "thoughtsfromovertherainbow"! Susan is waiting with lots of participants at