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.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Oh my goodness! I am back

I have been without a computer for OVER a month!!!!!  If this has never happened to you, I pray it never happens.  Mr. Sparkling had a very nice idea before Christmas that it would be great if we both got new computers for Christmas.  It had been a very LONG time since I received a new computer so I was giddy at the idea.  So Mr. Sparkling purchases us two new sparkling computers.  We call our trusted computer guy to help us get everything downloaded and after several hours, it's done.  We are ready to go.  I bring my shiny new computer to my kitchen island, AKA, my office and IT WOULD NOT WORK!   A quick call to our computer guy and he returns to tell us that the wireless adapters in the computers are not going to work in our house.  He suggested we return our new shiny computers.  This meant that he would have to take all of the info OFF of the new computers so we could return them.  So there all of our data went onto this little black box.  Scary.  He suggested computers that would work for us and we ordered them and then waited for several weeks.  ARGHHH!!!  Once they arrived our computer guy returned and took everything off of the black box and put it on our newest shiny computers and HERE I am.  Back to Blog world. 

While this post may seem a little stale, I am returning to my Christmas tables as I told you I would.  Let's go back in time shall we.  I was looking at place settings for Johnson Brothers Friendly Village.  I was not sure how I wanted to accessorize mine.  Finally, it all came together and so I share it with you now....when it is almost February and we are looking at hearts and springtime. 

Here are the flowers I chose to adorn my tablesetting.  Beautiful white hydrangeas, three colors of pink roses, burgundy mums (I broke my no mum rule to get this great color) pinecones ,sunflowers and evergreens.

The centerpiece...long and low

Friendly Village with a wicker charger, burlap place mat, vintage linen napkins and tortoise glasses

 Another view

 Top view of arrangement

Here you can see the whole table and the little birds nests filled with companion flowers.

 I feel guilty showing you this with my "said" dislike of mums, but they just really work in this arrangement.  Let's keep it on the down low.

I did not talk much about my kitchen table but here it is.  I used the same little birds nests.

Italian Spode mixed with a red and white toile and a floral napkin.

Here is the whole table...a cheery table where the young adults sat.

And here is the final photo with the candles lit and our salad ready to enjoy.  I had so much fun putting these table together and believe it or not we had three meals at each of these tables with the same flowers.  I did change the linens, but everything thing else remained the same. 

Now that I have this way past due post out of my system, I look forward to sharing some fresh, springtime topics very soon.  I am glad to be back.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Friendly Village

A few years ago, I began collecting Johnson Brothers Friendly Village dinnerware.  I felt like it would be so festive for Christmas with its wintry theme.  Each year, I am challenged with how to put my linens and accessories with it.  I found this rustic setting on the web.  I love this with all the neutrals and pops of red.  Of Course, the fresh flowers and greenery just make the whole thing come alive.

 And then look what we have here.  The very same dinner plates with a white and chocolate setting.  How versatile can one pattern be?  This must be why each year I play with a multitude of options. 

Here is the rustic place setting up close.  Simple.

We are having friends over this coming weekend and I am trying to decide how I want to accessorize my table.  Stay tuned to see what I decide.  

While on the web, I began looking at other place settings and this one caught my eye.  I love the berries around the napkin and the song sheet place card.  So creative.  The red and black look so good together here.

I love the tartan plaid blanket used on this table.  Mixed with the red berries it just screams Christmas.

Are you seeing a theme here with what I like?  It seems that the rustic tables are the ones that draw me in.  There is just something about the warm feel they exude.  After all, entertaining is about making your guests feel you have put a warm blanket on them.

I love this elegant white mixed with the mercury trees and greenery.

While perusing tables, I came across this arrangement with the little skate in the middle.  What a cute idea and look how elegant the whole design comes off.

How cool is this?  I love the berries and green mixed together.  Have you ever made one of these?  Was it worth it?

Want to dream for a minute?  Two of my favorite entertaining books are Passion for Parties by Carolyne Roehm and Danielle Rollins Soiree, Entertaining with Style.  Lets see what these famed, style mavens have to show us.

I guess you could call this a RED table.  Even the plates are a deep red.  This was designed by Carolyn Roehm.

WOW!  I love the clean look of this. The crisp white with the blue and of course the Narcissus and the greens just put this over the top pretty.  Another design by Carolyne Roehm

This is from Danielle Rollins and can you believe the centerpiece is nothing but carnations?  Who knew they could look so fantastic?!?

Love this napkin!  Combined with the red and white plates, it creates a very fun and festive setting.  Another one by Danielle Rollins

Ok, now this is just precious.  I am not certain of the source for this, but what a super great and easy idea to do yourself.  It might be hard finding small stocking that are this cute, but maybe something to search for in the after Christmas sales.

We are still dreaming aren't we?   Sometimes I wish I could start over and choose a different china pattern or choose more than one.  This Gold Aves really speaks to me.  The possibilities with this would be endless but somehow, I think keeping the accessories simple and elegant would be the ticket.

I guess I got a little carried away looking for inspiration for my Friendly Village pattern.  I will share my creation next week.

Coming up....a recipe for Bread Pudding with Whiskey Sauce

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Fireplace & Flowers

What in the world was I doing before all the Christmas decorating, cooking, shopping and partying?  It seems like forever ago when my brain thought of anything but Christmas.  It dawned on me that I never shared our outdoor fireplace project with you. 

 So let's go back to early Fall.  Here is where it all began.  This is the frame for the patio.

 This is the frame for the walkway and the pad for the Green Egg

 Full view of frame

 The concrete is poured

 It is starting to take shape.  I think the crepe myrtle had bitten the dust.
  Can you visualize it yet?

 Here are the concrete pads that will have mondo grass in between

 I spy a brick wall

 The beginning of the fireplace.  Sorry for the fuzzy photo...what was I doing?

 It was a little messy

 Sparkling dog had to check it out....afterall, this is HER territory!

 A better view

 We are almost finished

 While all the work was going on in the backyard, all this mess was in the front yard.  Can you say UGH!!!

 A whole lot of supplies

 And here it is!!!!!  After months of building and waiting.  I have to say the end result is beyond what we imagined and we look forward to spending many evenings in this area.

Tonight we had a fire and it was heavenly.  This project was long, but we are so happy we did it.  It truly has added another room to our home and certainly improved the backyard.

Now, lets move on to the flower part of this post.  Remember the Hydrangea How To's?  Well lets take a look at my hydrangeas ONE WEEK after the boiling water treatment.

This is the first stem that I showed you....the one that looked pretty good from the get go.  Besides the little bit of browning, this stem looks amazing.  

This is the second stem I showed you...the one that was struggling.  Well, I think it is the mighty engine that could!  It looks better than the best one now.  

Our lesson here is that the boiling water method certainly does work!  

Coming for the holidays.  What are you preparing?  What are your traditions?  Stay tuned.