Sunday, February 28, 2010

How Lucky Can You Get?

There’s a little extra spring in my step today! The sun is shining and the thermometer is above 50 degrees! PLUS I want to show you three fabulous items I have won in recent giveaways!CIMG1419

I won this beauty from Susan at Between Naps on the Porch during her fabulous blogaversary week. The colors in this gorgeous Colonial candle are just right for sunshine and warmer weather. You will certainly see this in an upcoming tablescape. Thank you again Susan for allowing us to share in your blog birthday!


I have several of these hiding in my house right now. I am working feverishly on an upcoming silent auction that I am co-chairing. The dummies ( I mean mannequins :) will be used to display items for the auction. But, it’s the perfect way to show you the gorgeous scarf Sarah at The Pumpkin Patch made for me! You can visit Sarah here. You’ll find all kinds of ideas with a strong dose of humor and love!


It’s almost as if Sarah knew me personally. Blue is my very favorite color. It’s ruffled, but not frilly. In short, it’s ME and I love it! Not only did I win this scarf, Sarah put the first item in my hope chest. You think I’m too old for a hope chest???…..depends on what you’re hoping for :)


Look at this gorgeous baby blanket! I am hoping one day this will belong to my first grandchild. It’s never to early to be prepared.


Look at this delicate and intricate work….I can just picture a sweet little one in it! Sarah has an etsy shop you can visit here. According to Sarah, “If you need a scarf or blanket, she knows the girl to do it!”. She also has precious hooded towels and handmade caps! I also received another surprise today!


Kim over at Savvy Southern Style awarded me with this. Having launched her blog just a month ago, Kim is a new kid on the block! If you have not visited her, go over and welcome her to Blogland! You can find her here. Kim asked me to tell you seven things you might not know about me….I think you know everything….much more than you want to know….but, in the spirit of the award, here goes…

1. I taught high school English early in our marriage and continue to substitute teach.

2. I would give anything to be able to sing or dance and can do neither well….but it doesn’t stop me :)

3. I love to read…. many many things, but true crime is my dirty little secret.

4. The beach is my favorite place on earth…with a book :)

5. If I can pick only one thing to eat for the rest of my life, it is crab.

6. I will have to add dessert to the crab. I must have dessert.

7. Some people think I’m short. I think the rest of you are tall :)

Thanks Kim! I am linking to Susan at Between Naps on the Porch for Met Monday. I did transform that naked mannequin :) Thanks, Susan, for your continued inspiration and hospitality! Click on the butterfly on my sidebar for instant transportation to “The Porch”!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Come for a Spring Breakfast


Spring is playing hide and seek around here. Like an elusive child, it pops up momentarily only to hide again. But the one sure harbinger of spring is the daffodil.


While we’re waiting for the real deal, I’ve set the table for a casual spring breakfast. At least the bright colors will transport our minds to where our bodies long to be!


I covered the table with a matelasse coverlet right out of the linen closet—no pulling it off and heading back to bed! I love the white as a canvas for the bright yellow and green.


The centerpiece was a snap. Silk daffodils in small pitchers will have to do until the real thing arrives. Eggs piled on a small cake plate with delicate open cutwork continue the simple white breakfast theme.


I found these happy spring placemats this year to use with the standby white Gibson china. A single daffodil tucked into each napkin will make each guest feel special.


Now we don’t really need place cards for breakfast, but they are fun! I dyed hardboiled eggs and wrote names on them. You can eat them after you find your seat :). Flatware is from Big Lots!


We’ll be serving family style, so you’ll have to grab your own plate to go pick up your eggs and pancakes. Now you can get the full effect of the yellow placemat! Don’t worry if you’re not a morning person. This table setting will work perfectly for a casual lunch without the eggs!

I’ll be joining Susan at Between Naps on the Porch for Tablescape Thursday and Michelle at Maddycakes Muse for her Easter Tablescapes and spring parties contest. You can click on The Tablescape Thursday button on the sidebar to visit Susan. Click here to visit Maddycakes Muse. Your are sure to leave both places inspired!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Replenishing the “Happy” Closet


I know lots of you have gift closets just full of things you are wise enough to buy ahead of time and maybe on sale for upcoming special occasions and birthdays. I’m not good at that—I go ahead and give it to the intended owner. BUT, I do like to keep a few thing on hand for what I call “happies”—unexpected gifts to friends, “get well” presents, or hostess gifts. Over the weekend I replenished my stock.


This past week Hobby Lobby had their decorative glassware on sale for half off—that’s any glassware over $1.99! These bottles with the cross stopper came in two sizes and prices--$7.99 and $9.99. The jars come in several sizes and prices. These are $1.99---and half off all of that!


A while back Rainey at The Project Table did a post on bath salts. You may remember I made candy cane luncheon favors here with her idea. This time I used a $5.00 bag of Epsom salt fromWalgreens and neon purple from a food color kit made by Durkee. I am pretty sure this came from Walmart. I used a little more than a tablespoon of lavender oil for the entire six pound bag of salts. You can buy several different essential oils at Hobby Lobby or online here. You could also use sea salt and kitchen extracts such as lime, vanilla, and coconut.


This bottle will make a lovely gift and can be refilled by the owner with more bath salts or lotion. Don’t worry—the purple food coloring will not turn you into Barney or dye your bath tub!


I added some spring ribbon to the jars. I happened to have this already, but I never buy it unless it is half price. For less than $30 (plus the essential oil) I now have seven gifts just waiting to make someone happy!

Susan At Between Naps on the Porch has exciting makeovers and projects going on over at her place! Click on the butterfly button on the sidebar for more Metamophosis Monday!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Pancakes for Supper…Fat Tuesday


Sometimes breakfast is just the right thing for supper…that’s supper, not to be confused with dinner. Supper is what brings a family together around a table. And there is no better time to have pancakes for supper than on Fat Tuesday.


Fat Tuesday gets its name from the tradition of Christians eating all the rich food they intended to give up on the last day before the Lenten season began. It represented one last day of epicurean pleasure before fasting. Pancakes, traditionally, were a good way to use up all those rich foods—flour, sugar, eggs. Personally, I don’t need an excuse to eat pancakes—I love them. Homemade ones are, however, a little trouble and I find the frozen ones rubbery at best. This recipe will keep in the refrigerator for up to ten days…if it lasts that long. It’s a great recipe to have on hand for weekends with guests or for kids who get up at all different hours--just leave the griddle out for do- it- yourself pancakes!

Room Service Pancakes

6 eggs

4 cups buttermilk

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1 cup half and half

1 package dry yeast

4 cups flour

2 tablespoons baking powder

2 tablespoons baking soda

2 tablespoons sugar or honey

1 teaspoon salt

Beat eggs. Add buttermilk, oil, and cream. Sift dry ingredients together and add to liquids. Stir thoroughly. Refrigerate overnight before using. This is a light moist pancake with just a hint of yeast flavor. It makes about 3/4 gallon of batter.

Monday, February 15, 2010

We Have a Winner

1stbirthdaycake Thank you to all of you who stopped by to wish me a happy blogaversary and enter the drawing for a Fifi original! I carefully assigned the names a number with the correct number of entries and used the Random Number Generator….since everyone else in the house was asleep. The winner(s) is (are!) Allie and Pattie of Bramasole…to yearn for the sun. This is such a fun mother/daughter lifestyle blog. If you have not met them yet, I hope you will soon!


Thanks so much to Fifi at Fifi Flowers. You can find Fifi’s elegant and fun blog here and see more of her gorgeous artwork! Hope you all had a wonderful Valentine’s Day.


This is me after the sumptuous brunch at the Peabody Hotel and seeing The Jersey Boys! You can read about my Valentine's date in my previous post. If you get the chance to see it, rush to buy a ticket! It is definitely a winner in our book! Have a great week :)

Thursday, February 11, 2010

How to Have the Perfect Valentine’s Date


Laurie over at Bargain Hunting and Chatting with Laurie is throwing a party and we’re all invited! I think she has been hiding Johnny Depp in “the closet”, so there is no telling what we will find. For many years Beloved and I have struggled to find the perfect Valentine’s gift for each other.


Early in our marriage he sent red roses. I accused him of having no imagination.


He brought home boxes of chocolate. I threw away the ones I didn’t like.


I made dinner reservations. He said, “There are too many people and the service stinks”. What’s a girl to do? Plan your own Valentine’s date, of course!


Beloved found these tickets in his Christmas stocking---The Jersey Boys!! He is finally reaping the benefits of my little part time job! Broadway is something we both enjoy!


This is the story of “how four blue-collar kids became one of the greatest successes in pop music history”—the story of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons. The reviews are great and I can hardly wait for the music! We’ll be seeing it in the beautiful Orpheum Theater in Memphis.


Admittedly, the Orpheum near famous Beale Street, is not much to look at from the outside. The inside, however, is a different story. Originally the Grand Opera House, the building was destroyed by fire in 1923 (during a strip tease). Musta been some strip tease :) At the time it was called the “classiest outside New York City”. After being rebuilt, it spent several years showing first run movies. However, in 1982 the theater was given a 5 million dollar face lift. The inside is beyond elegant and even has its own ghost in box 5. Beloved was thrilled and even added to the fun.


He has made reservations for brunch at the Peabody Hotel. This is a picture of the lobby with the world famous Peabody ducks who march in daily. They descend in an elevator and walk through the lobby on a red carpet to the fountain where they swim for the rest of the day. It is a huge tourist attraction and these ducks have it made!


Maybe this will be the year I’ll change my opinion of Valentine’s Day! After all, big girls don’t cry! If you haven’t entered the giveaway for my blogaversary, you still have time to own an original Fifi! Click here to enter.

Join Laurie here –Don’t be late for her party. She’s a fabulous hostess! Happy Valentine’s Day!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

A Berry Happy Valentine’s Day


Susan at Between Naps on the Porch and Michael Lee West at Designs by Gollum have the “perfect pair”. Tablescape Thursdays and Foodie Fridays are a match made in heaven! Thank you ladies! I think I told you that Valentine’s Day is not one of my favorite holidays, but I just couldn’t let it pass without a little effort on my part. Since the big heart day falls on Sunday, I set a special table during the week.


I saw a picture several years ago using strawberries instead of red roses. Red roses are not my favorite and I like the idea of using fruit in a centerpiece. I really wanted to pair the strawberries with white roses, but pink is what I could find. I used the good old white Gibson serving bowl for the flower container—just filled it with wet oasis.


The strawberries were inserted with wooden skewers. One of the beauties of this arrangement is that you can decide on the number of roses and the number of strawberries…and strawberries are definitely cheaper than roses…even 1/2 price ones :).


For a Tuesday night we’re keeping it pretty casual with Big Lots No-name square plates and Target melamine salad plates and placemats. The stainless (what is left of it :) is Louisiana by Oneida. I picked it out as a bride-to-be and I think a lot of it is buried in sand boxes and dirt piles in two or three states. The cute little Dollar Tree marshmallow suckers dress up the napkins, but I don’t think they count as dessert.


In this last icy cold winter blast, I have learned something: 1.Cold weather makes me hungry and lazy. 2. This will not be attractive at the beach. SO we are having a lighter dessert-strawberries left over from the centerpiece. How economical is that? I’ll just jazz them up a little with the recipe below.


In case you missed it, Valentine’s Day is also my one year blogaversary Giveaway and your chance to own an original Fifi by Fifi Flowers. Just click here to enter for the drawing!

Stawberries Romanoff

1 orange, for zest

4 tablespoons sugar

6 tablespoons water

4 tablespoons Cointreau or any orange-flavored liqueur

2 cups strawberries, quartered or halved

Whipped cream or topping

Peel wide strips of orange zest and cut into very thin strips. Combine sugar and water in a saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Add orange zest; reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in liqueur and cool. Pour syrup over strawberries and let sit for 2 hours. Serve strawberries (looks cute in a martini glass) topped with whipped cream or topping.

You can click on the buttons on my sidebar for immediate transportation to our hostesses. Happy Heart Week—don’t forget to enter the drawing!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Met Monday Art, Blogaversary, and a Giveaway!

This post is all about art—art that even I can do and art for my blogaversary giveaway! First, let me show you a quick project I recently did for Sunshine’s birthday. We are slowly but surely turning the bachelor pad into a newlywed nest. I started out with a photo of her dear sweet Cooper.


The Coop is prone to bad hair days and looking pensive! :) I love the Photobucket options for editing. This one is called popart under effects. Cooper goes Warhol with just a few clicks!


I uploaded this picture to Walgreen’s. I could pick out the size I wanted . Just like magic the print was ready within the hour and cost under $3.


On a trip to Hobby Lobby I had a mat cut to fit a half price frame. There are often pre-cut mats, but I wanted a particular color to match the bedding and the print. Still a deal at $6. The whole project was less than $30 and Sunshine and the groom loved it! Now on to some REAL art!


My blogaversary is Valentines Day!!! I can hardly believe that almost one year ago I entered the Land of Blog after almost a year of lurking and visiting! I really want to thank each of you who visit and take the time to comment. You have taught me new things, shared your lives, and inspired me beyond my wildest imagination! I truly feel as if you have enriched my life. And so to thank you here is a chance for a giveaway and some real original art! Here is your chance to own a Fifi!


Fifi at Fifi Flowers has graciously offered to donate an original painting of your choice 6’’ X 8” on archival paper at a value of up to $100!! You can find her website here.

Here are the rules:

1. Make a comment on this post before midnight on February 14 for one entry.

2. If you are a follower or become one, you will get two entries. Mention it in your comment.

3. Include a link to this in a post or on your sidebar and get three entries. Please come back and let me know that you did.

Simple! I look forward to making new friends this year. The winner will be announced on Monday, February 15!

Please click on the Met Monday button on my sidebar to join Susan at Between Naps on the Porch!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

The Help

The Help ****

by Kathryn Stockett


I recently learned about a new event hosted by Jain at Food for Thought. She calls it an edible review—a chance to review a book of our choice and showcase food vignettes within the book. This is right up my alley—two things I love: reading and cooking! So while I’m at it, I’ll be sharing a recipe for Foodie Friday with Michael Lee West at Designs by Gollum. Recently during a couple of days when we were iced in, I had the chance to sit down and read The Help by Kathryn Stockett. I had heard the buzz, but had not had the opportunity to read it myself. The book is the story of domestic help in white households of the South in the early ‘60’s. It is a story of awakening.


A toilet and chocolate pie—an odd combination to be sure, but two things at the very heart of the book. The story centers around Skeeter who has just graduated from Ole Miss and returned home with a degree in journalism but without the all-important engagement ring. In her attempt to fit back into the society she left, she finds herself drawn to the plight of the domestic help raising the children and cleaning the houses of her bridge partners. It is Skeeter who digs deeply into the lives of Aibileen, a wise black woman raising her seventeenth white child, and Minny a short black woman with a big attitude and an even bigger mouth.


I found the deep dialect a little affected. I grew up about ten years and forty miles from the setting. I enjoyed reading about streets, stores, and even a weatherman I recognized. Skeeter’s best friends Hilly and Elizabeth, employers of “the help” represent people we all know….part arrogance, part ignorance, and part a product of their time. The heroine, in my opinion, is Aibileen who rallies the other maids and entices them to tell their stories to “Miss Skeeter” for a book she hopes to have published. It is Aibileen who nurtures Mae Mobley, the child of the indifferent social-climbing Elizabeth. She presses Mae Mobley’s little fat thumb into her own palm and tells her, “You is smart, you is good, you is important”. This, for me, was what Stockett wanted us to know. Each of is smart, and good, and important.


Oddly enough, my favorite part of the book was the last chapter: “Too Little, Too Late”—the author in her own words. Here I gained an insight into the ambivalence of the author about her native Mississippi. Stockett herself was raised by an absentee mother and her grandmother’s maid. She admits to having conflicting feelings about the way she herself had thought about her upbringing and how she treated Demetrie who cared for her. The plot moves well, the characters are well developed, and the dialogue is lively. I recommend The Help. Oh, and about the pie and the toilet…you’ll just have to read it :)

Now, back to that chocolate pie that no self respecting bridge group would be without! This is my never fail stand by recipe for chocolate pie!

Chocolate Pie

1 1/2 cups sugar

3 tablespoons cocoa

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 tablespoon cornstarch

1 tablespoon flour

3 cups milk

3 egg yolks, lightly beaten

1 tablespoon butter

1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Mix dry ingredients together in a medium size saucepan. Gradually stir in milk and cook over medium heat until thickened, stirring constantly. Boil for one minute. Remove from heat and stir 1/2 mixture slowly into egg yolks. Add this mixture back to the saucepan. Bring to a boil and cook one minute. Remove from heat and add butter and vanilla. Cool slightly and pour into cooled baked pie shell. Top with meringue if desired

***Note- To make Coconut Cream Pie. Follow above recipe EXCEPT reduce sugar to 2/3 cup. Omit cocoa. Fold in 3/4 cup shredded coconut just before filling pie shell.

Click here for Food for Thought!


Click on the button on my sidebar for Foodie Friday at Designs by Gollum. Thanks for hosting ladies!

EDITED--I actually posted this before I knew the event was every OTHER week! Hope you don't mind. In the meantime, I have posted a blogaversary giveaway. Click here to enter.

Monday, February 1, 2010

What’s On Your Bedside Table?

Barb at Grits and Glamour has invited us to share on Tabletop Tuesdays. I think bedside tables often provide an intimate look into the life of its owner. Are there books and a favorite beverage, or a box of Kleenex and cold medication? Do you have pictures, mementos, or family heirlooms? Here is mine on a good day.


“The Baby” gave me a new lamp for Christmas. He was listening when I mentioned this bird lamp at Hobby Lobby. Lately, I seem to be drawn to bird-themed decor.


I love the brown and bronze textured branches. It almost looks like the bare oak tree looming right outside my window. It’s perfect for this blue and brown room where I have tried to give a nod to both feminine and masculine taste. And yes, that is painted grass cloth on the wall behind the bed. And no, I didn’t do it, but from everything I’ve read I will have to learn to live with it or go to extreme trouble to remove it. Any ideas?


This little ruffled piece of local pottery was a gift from a dinner guest. It’s the perfect place to drop my rings when I lather up my hands with body butter :) The colors are just right.


There are always books beside my bed. I love to read and my taste is varied. The top book is morning reading—My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers published in the United States in 1935. Oswald was a Bible college teacher in London and YMCA chaplain. His devotions were collected and published by his wife posthumously. Today it is one of the bestselling devotionals of all time and a good way to start my day. The Devil’s Punchbowl is quite the opposite and not for the faint of heart. It is the latest piece of fiction by one of my favorite thriller authors Greg Iles. Iles, a Mississippi native, brings the characters and setting of Natchez, MS into vivid focus and gives a face to true evil.


On a much lighter note, I received this wonderful book from my daughter for Christmas. Author Carolyn Roehm is at home in both the world of fashion and entertaining. This beautiful book is filled with three of my favorite things—gorgeous pictures, food, and tables.


As the book jacket says, “She follows the seasons to provide year-round suggestions for place settings, floral arrangements, and menus”.


Her ideas range from the very elegant and formal table to the low key and casual picnic.


The pictures, menus, and recipes in this book should keep me occupied until at least April. :)


I hope you’ll join Barb at Grits and Glamour for Tabletop Tuesdays. Now, tell me, what’s on your bedside table?