Friday, June 5, 2015


Mr.Sparkling, Son 2 and myself set out to have a little Friday night fun.  We ended up going to a new restaurant with a farm fresh vibe.  The atmosphere was great and the service was beyond our expectations.  Now on the food.

I consider myself a food person. After all, I love food but beyond that I love to cook and reading cookbooks as if they are novels is very common for me.  You already know I am in a cookbook club and I used to cater.  Tonight when our waiter recommended Poutine, I did not know what it was.  Alas, look at the photo of deliciousness above.....that is a southern version of Poutine.  Poutine is a Quebec (or French Canadian) staple of French fries with white cheddar cheese curds and beef gravy.  While that sounds delicious, ours was French fries topped with blackeyed pea chili, sharp cheddar and gremolata (a chopped herb condiment classically made of lemon zest, garlic and parsley).  The three of us gobbled this cast iron skillet full of goodness pretty quick.

This was a unique version of a wedge salad.  Topped with asher blue cheese (a naturally rinded cheese made in the US), country ham, radish, spring onion and homemade buttermilk dressing.  Mr. Sparkling and Son 2 both ordered this salad and I had a bite.  I am going to try my own version of this salad.  It was so fresh.

I ordered chicken and it was delicious.  Braised southern peas (blackeyed peas, field peas and butter beans), summer squash, and a sorghum grilled breast.  While the chicken was fabulous, my favorite part about this dish was the peas.  They were in a savory/sweet broth and filled with goodness. 

Mr. Sparkling and Son 2 both ordered this catfish.  It was so light and crispy served on top of mashed potatoes and topped with a tartar sauce, green onions and hot sauce.  Fabulous!

A small crystal vase adorned with three mini zinnias graced our table and put a smile on my face. 

We had a great evening and I will try two things from our meal.   The wedge salad and the mixture of peas (blackeyed pea, field pea and butter beans).  I hope this inspired you or at least made you hungry.  Until next time!

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Up Close and Personal

Last week I shared many of the details of our bridal luncheon with you but there are still lots of details to share.

Above you see the floral palate we chose for the day.  When working on floral design, color harmony is an important aspect.  If you look at a typical color wheel, there are many ways you can use color.  In our palate, we chose an Analogous palate which uses colors next to each other on the color wheel. 

If you love blue and white porcelain as much as  I do then you can certainly appreciate this footbath.  Many of you may wonder just why in the world it is called a footbath.  Well here’s a little history.  Chinese footbaths originated in China in the Ming Dynasty.  Traditionally, they were used only by women of the wealthiest families who practiced foot binding.  In turn, this practice became popular as a means of displaying status.  So how in the world do we use them for flowers?  It turns out that in the 1980’s and exporter began shipping footbaths all over the world.  Interior designers embraced them as they were as pretty as the ever popular fish bowls but had a perfect size for a dining table or sideboard and were very beautiful porcelain.  Who knew? 

In this arrangement, I used a magenta kolanchoe, maidenhair fern and a bit of Spanish moss. 


This smaller blue and white planter was used as a companion and I love how it extended our floral beauty down the table.


In this crystal rose bowl, we continued our color palate.  We love the very open white roses in this container.  This rose bowl is vintage.


Back in the day, before paper cocktail napkins were so widely used and available, these beautiful linen cocktail napkins were the choice.  These are just so pretty and we think perfect for a beautiful event.  These are vintage and I truly cherish them. 

 Are you familiar with the very popular HGTV show, Fixer Upper, starring Chip and Joanna Gaines?  If not, Chip and Joanna are husband and wife and during each episode they have a couple looking for a new home.  Chip and Joanna find the worst looking houses and show the couple scenarios as to what the home could look like if they could renovate it.  The show continues with Chip overseeing the construction end of the project and Joanna working on all design aspects.  Joanna has a great sense of style that combines a bit of rustic with a bit of industrial items.  She finds some very unique items and in fact opened a physical and online store called Magnolia.
I am totally obsessed with this show.  Based out of Waco, Texas the scenery is so beautiful and it is so much fun to be able to explore the architecture of that area via the show.  There is not one home they have renovated or designed that I have not fallen in love with.  One of my favorite redo’s is “Young Family Takes on History”.  In this episode you can see how Joanna chooses items for the house and it is so much fun to watch her do her thing. 

The little trio of vases you see in the photo above came from Joanna’s online shop.  The scrolled ironwork is host to a test tube looking vase.  Actually, I really think they are test tubes.   These are perfect for a single flower or a few flowers as I did for the luncheon. 

You can see the episodes online and shop online too. Check it out, you won’t be sorry and if you are like me, you will be hooked.

These place cards were specially created to coordinate with the flowers for the luncheon.  Place cards seem to be used mostly for larger functions but we believe it adds a special touch and truly give a warm welcome to each person.  Blank place cards can be found at most craft stores and are really fun and easy to incorporate into your event.  In our case, we wanted to use place cards to insure that the bride and her bridesmaids were able to sit together and enjoy the day.  After all, the luncheon was in their honor. 

 I close this post with two beautiful flowers.  Sometimes when you see a flower "up close and personal" you realize what a miracle it is.



Wednesday, May 20, 2015


I have missed posting but it is hard to be host to a party and blog at the same time.  Several of my friends and I hosted a Bridal Luncheon in my home last week.   We had a seated lunch for 30 people plus two precious flower girls.  We had a great time and the bride was as happy as she could be.  The table you see above is, as I call it, the blue and white table.  At one point I thought maybe I went overboard with the blue and white but really, can you have too much of a good thing?

Here you can see everything a little better.  I used Spode Italian dinnerware, toile placemats that I have used for years and years.  A classic never dies!  Bamboo flatware....seriously I just love it.  A rattan charger, tortoise crystal and a cream and brown vintage linen napkin.  My planters were even blue and white but I put the pop of magenta kalanchoe in them and it just made me smile.

This was the table for the bride and her bridesmaids and other younger attendees.  I thought the cute leopard print with the formal china was a fun twist. 

Here is the setting up close.  The china is Duchess Blue/Green by Royal Tettau.  The napkins are by Split P.  The chargers have been in my collection for many, many years.  The flatware is by Southern Living at Home and Waterford crystal. 
These are the final two tables.  I rented the bamboo chairs and the tables are from our tailgate collection.  We moved most of our furniture out of our family room to accomadate these two tables.

Here is the whole table.  The china for these two tables is Castle Garden by Lenox.  I have used this china more than I would like to admit.  The fun thing here is the new napkins I found that just lightened the formality of the plates.  The napkins are Vietri.  The gold beaded chargers came from One Kings Lane, a purchase that I am so happy I made. The crystal is Hayworth by Lenox.  The flatware is King Edward. Did you know there are about 5 King Edward patterns?  I didn't until a friend asked me what this pattern was and I told her King Edward.  She told me she had King Edward and it did not look anything like this.  So, upon further investigation, I found that each manufacturer took creative license and designed their very own King Edward patterns.  Crazy right?

I have many more things I want to show you from the luncheon.  As time allows I will post.

Also, I am working on a VERY exciting project and hope to be able to share it with you very soon.  Stay tuned. 

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Bridal Shower

In my previous post I mentioned a Bridal Shower I helped host and displayed some of the flowers for the party.  Today, I want to share the menu with you. 

Here you can see our festive table. 

Bridal Shower Menu

Tomato Sandwiches (one of the bride's all time favorite foods)
Deviled Eggs
Assorted Vegetable Tray
Pasta Salad
Petit Fours
Chocolate Covered Strawberries

Here are the tomato sandwiches.  The lady that made these asked a group of ladies how they make their tomato sandwiches and she received as many answers as ladies.  There are so many ways to make these and they are all good.  On these sandwiches here, mayonnaise, crumbled bacon, salt, pepper and parsley were used.

Isn't this egg tray precious?  I just love the bunnies.  I think it could be argued that like the tomato sandwiches, deviled eggs are prepared a million different ways and they are all very good.  I am not sure what was in these, but they were on the top of my best ever deviled eggs.  I will do what I can to get the recipe.

This was the drink table including tea, water and punch.


When I was fourteen, I began taking cake decorating lessons and continued to decorate cakes my whole life including a cake for ONE large wedding.  This included making Petit fours which is pretty time consuming and with time being short before this shower, these beauties were purchased from a local bakery.  I may be on to something!  Oh, and if you are wondering why the ONE wedding, it was so stressful to me I decided I could not do another.  I wanted it to be BEYOND perfect.  I remember my wonderful grandmother being at my house when I was preparing the wedding cake.  She watched me toll over this cake and the icing going over and over it with my spatula.  After a few hours, she said, "Honey, leave that thing alone!  They will all be drinking anyway! "  Oh, the voice of experience.

A friend of mine has been making this pasta salad for years.   It is really simple, but one of those that everyone likes.  I has chunks of mozzarella cheese, black olives, green peppers and tomatoes in a vinaigrette. 

I leave you with one last photo of the flowers.  Our bride to be was glowing and we all had a great time watching her open her new gifts. 

Saturday, March 21, 2015

It's Raining Projects

Hello Blog Friends!  I have missed you!  First, I had another issue with my computer which would not allow me to retrieve photos on my computer and then I got in a tailspin of projects.  So without further delay, I am here to share them with you!

My Mom has a friend that saw some wreaths that I made years ago and wanted me to recreate them in different colors for her doors.  I sent these to my Mom to give to her friend and she decided she wanted them and now I am making another set for her friend with different colors.  Crazy right?

Here is a close up of the flowers....I love the succulent tucked in with the other flowers.

And here is the whole thing...when I made this with the fabric way back when, I never imagined I would be doing this for other people, but life is crazy like that!

Shortly after working on the wreaths, I hosted a luncheon at my home.  This is the table in my kitchen. 

Here is the place setting up close with one of the vintage napkins I collect. I really like this one.

This is the place setting that was used in my dining room.  These napkins are vintage as well and I LOVE the pink. 

This was the centerpiece on the dining table.  I had to bring these hydrangeas back to life.  The flower selection was slim the day I purchased them.  I will say they lasted even though they started out pretty sad looking. 

And here is the dining table in full.

Moving on from the luncheon, my next event was a bridal shower.  This is the arrangement I worked on to go on my friend's table as the shower was at her home.

And this arrangement was done for her kitchen.  It coordinated with a wonderfully colorful table runner. 

And finally, I worked on this for an event at Son 2's school.  These flowers really make me think Spring.  The container is an old wooden tool box.  As you know, I love contrasts.

These were the companions to the larger arrangement that were placed on the individual tables.

It is funny to me how this looks so simple when I see these photos.  In reality, lots of time was spent in planning all of these arrangements, finding the containers, and selecting the flowers.  I also went back and forth on how to set my table for the luncheon.  To me, it is like finding the right outfit...I have to "try" on different napkins, placemats and containers for flowers before I make my mind up.  What about you?  Do these type projects come easy or are you like me and need planning time?  I will say, I enjoy every minute of it. 

Monday, February 9, 2015

Flower Power

While perusing Pinterest, I came across this unbelievable dress made completely of flowers.  I can't imagine the time or cost involved with this and felt like I must share it with you.  It could battle any red carpet dress for sure.  I have seen other flower dresses but not one like this one.  It is a stunner.

When I saw the blanket of flowers on that dress, I could not help but think of this wagon full of petunias that I pinned a while back.  WOW! is all I can say.  Can you imagine how many petunias would need to be planted to make this beautiful display?

While it is so much fun to dream about the dress and the wagon, it would be hard to recreate them.  So I found this simple but creative arrangement that looks so good. I love the wire basket with the bottles and the flowers.  It's real life!

This arrangement is so pretty to me and could be re-created with a bird house or a lantern.

This is so simple but looks so good.  If you don't have a wooden barrel like this, you could use a wooden tool box or a copper container.  Isn't it funny how baby's breath is en vogue again?

How about this whimsical succulent chair?  So creative but would not be that hard to recreate.

How great is this....three flowers and some filler!  I love this!

I love to be inspired by over the top floral designs but at the end of the day, I really like the ones that you can recreate with ease.  I hope some of these have inspired you.  I guess I am really wanting spring to arrive and looking at these arrangements kind of took me away!!!

Friday, February 6, 2015

My Fish Was A Flop

Ok people, here is my FRESH grouper that really was not that good.  You can't judge this book by its cover....this actually looks pretty good but let me tell the story.  I stopped by to purchase some fresh fish today.  I was thinking the sky is blue, the sun is shining, the temp is up so let's do a lighter meal.  That's where it all began. 

After standing in line for a while, I ordered grouper filets and then asked if credit cards were accepted. To my surprise the answer was no.   I just left physical therapy and did not have my BIG purse with me.  So, no checks, no cash, no way to pay.  The fish guy told me not to worry about it.  He gave me his address on the back of my receipt for $41.00 worth of fish and told me to just mail it to him.  It pays to shop local.

In keeping with the almost spring day, I went to the grocery store to purchase the rest of the meal.  AHH, some beautiful heirloom tomatoes.  Just look at these beauties.

I sliced these and topped them with a little olive oil, vinegar, and salt and pepper.  They were really good.

And then I purchased three packages of fresh baby spinach.  It looked like a mountain of spinach but look how much it cooked down.

Seriously, that is all that was left after I sautéed it in a little olive oil, salt and pepper.  This spinach was delicious.  Simple and yummy.

And then came the awful part.  I can't tell you how many people keep talking to me about Quinoa.  Oh how good it is for you is what I keep hearing.  A few month ago I tried it and was not wowed.  I figured I just needed to find a good recipe.  So, I searched a very well respected chef and followed the recipe.  I have trusted this chef with many other recipes, but this one was not good.  Mr. Sparkling and both sons would not touch it.  Sad I tell you sad! No sense in my showing you a picture of it.

Below, you will see my beautiful, freshly caught grouper. The recipe came from a trusted sight.  It had been reviewed 136 times with very few negative comments.  How could I go wrong.  Son 1 tasted it first and I asked him how it was.  He said it was OK.  OK??????  what do you mean OK???  I was almost mad at him until I tasted it and OK was a nice statement.  I did not like it at all and in fact did not eat it.  To be polite Mr. Sparking ate it.  Son 2 came in from baseball practice and was starving and even told me it was delicious.  I am going to believe he would have eaten cardboard at that point.  Lesson....don't try a new recipe on a big pile of fish!

The day was not lost.  I did find these gorgeous orchids and very fresh kalonchoe.  I love the colors and they seem to almost blend with the background painting.  I leave you on a positive note with a few good food items above to try and these flowers that made me happy again.