Food, Tablescapes

Frozen!

IMG_0182Does this tell you it’s cold in Houston?  With temperatures the last several days being below freezing, one is not encouraged to venture far from home.  That means it’s only natural to think of warming with comfort foods like soups and stews.

In the refrigerator were most of the makings for beef stew though the pantry was empty of the diced tomatoes and broth I typically use for liquid.  That being the case required some creative thinking, so I added a bottle of beer and at the last minute the remains of some frozen edamame and red pepper and tomato soup that had accompanied a grilled cheese sandwich on another frozen day.  Noting the ingredients, the hubby raised his eyebrows in questioning wonder. 

While the stew was bubbling away,

IMG_0131I got the bar, where we eat most of the time when it’s just the two of us, ready for dinner.

It’s nothing fancy,  but I do choose dishes that go with whatever happens to be on the surface.  If you’ve seen any of my tablescapes, you know that seldom is an eating surface unadorned which makes it very easy to add on.

IMG_0136With fragrant smells emanating from the kitchen, we settled to watch the evening news.  By the time the latest Trump bashing was over, the stew was ready and guess what?  Those extra added ingredients combined for a pretty tasty creation which goes to show you don’t always have to rely on the tried and true.  Cooking is just another way of expressing your creativity.

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Tablescape Thursday

Share Your Cup Thursday

Full Plate Thursday

 

 

ramblings

Resisting Temptation

Forgetting that yesterday was a holiday, I headed out as usual on a Monday.  My first clue that things were different was that there were no flashing lights in school zones and traffic was lighter.  Finally, it dawned on me the reason why.  While for some Monday was a day off, retail stores were open and it seemed a good opportunity to do a little browsing.  As luck would have it, the first place that caught my attention was World Market, always a fun place to take a peek.

Greeting me upon entering was a big welcome to the Year of the Dog.  People born in this year are said to be affectionate, faithful, straightforward, courageous, smart, inspirational, loyal, honest, trustworthy and warm hearted.  That’s quite a list of admirable characteristics.

There were shelves of goodies perfect for a Chinese New Year celebration.

IMG_0153Combined with the red and white dishes, they would make a very fun table.

Speaking of tables, all I could do was imagine the ones that could be created with collections from Portugal, Morocco, Fez as I have sworn not to buy any more dishes.

IMG_0158The handcrafted Thai  pottery lends itself to a tasty meal concocted of dishes selected from a beautiful book of recipes and stories of Thailand.  That kept me looking for several minutes as the place and the food are among my favorite.

IMG_0180As its name suggests, World Market has goods from all over the globe.

IMG_0173Having recently visited Jaipur, it made me happy to see hand stitched quilts from there.  As I looked at the neat rows of stitching, I could not help but think of the women who I had seen doing this kind of work and were probably paid so little for their effort.

IMG_0174Moving on to the food section where there is such a varied selection made me hungry so it seemed a good time to finish browsing.

IMG_0177I didn’t get past the beverages though as these bottles are great for serving water once they are empty.        

IMG_0166Moving on to the checkout counter, I passed by a display of teapots and cosies that were so cute I was sorely tempted, but I just kept walking.  Resisting temptation is a continual challenge!

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Family, ramblings

Conversation With Evan

Evan is 6 or, as he would quickly correct, 6 1/2. He is a whirling dervish, seldom still and full of himself in a most loveable way. After several hours of nonstop activity this morning I thought to have some calm we would talk about photos of birds and animals taken on various trips. I was all prepared to make this a learning experience, but the exercise took on a life of its own.

Me, “This is a blue footed booby that lives on a Galapagos island.”

“Lulu, you have boobies. Are yours blue?”

OK, next photo.

“He looks really sad.”

“Oh?” 

“No one will play with him.”

“Why do you think that is?”

“Because he is dumb.”

“How does that make you feel?”

“It makes me sad so I will be his friend.” Now that is promise of a tender heart.

Somewhat bored with the zoology lesson, Evan starts feeling my stomach. “Lulu, your stomach feels big. Do you have babies in there?’

“No, your mommy is my last baby.”

“Does she hide in there sometime?”

OK, I’m out of answers. It’s hard to stay up with a 6, er 6 1/2, year old.

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Tablescapes

Mixing It Up

Keep in mind that no table top in my house is ever going to be empty and whatever is there is going to influence what happens next.  For no reason other than it’s seldom used, this table runner was chosen as a starting point.

The colors had me stumped, but as I looked around the house several pieces of pottery seemed to cry out, “Try me”.  That sounds kind of Alice in Wonderlandish, but I could find no reason to resist.

In place I rather liked the way the colors seemed to play off each other, and it made me happy to see some of my favorite pottery grouped together..

A few evenings later friends were coming for dinner and my thinking was there was no way I could set a table around this quirky centerpiece.  Being one who does not like to undo, I challenged myself to make it work and what followed was great fun.

There was enough blue in the runner to make me think to try the Polish pottery which is the only blue in the cupboard.  I tried them at first on a square, natural placement which was kinda blah so I added the blue denim charger.

If you are familiar with this pottery, you know that no two pieces are alike.  The real surprise here was that many in this collection had colors similar to the runner.

On a roll now, I saw no reason for the stems to be the same so each place has a different one.

Mixing things up is my favorite way to create a table and each piece that was added did just that yet there is a cohesiveness to how it all comes together.

There is enough going on without making a big deal out of the napkin so it is tied simply with a piece of twine.

From this table I learned to never say never which can open the door to a special kind of creativity.  I say go for it!

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Tablescape Thursday

 

Art, literature

Taking a Second Look

I have just finished reading Dan Brown’s most recent book, Origin, which had many references to  Gaudi’s Casa Mila and Sagrada Familia in Barcelona. These gave me reason to review photos I had taken of both.

As I looked at them, they gave credence to Gaudi’s words:

Nothing is invented, for it’s written in nature first. Originality consists of returning to the origin.

At Casa Mila, the influence of nature is obvious beginning with the facade which reminded of something growing from the earth.

Inside graceful nautilus shapes are among those reminiscent of the sea.On the rooftop are amazing organic structures with flowers and layers resembling the earth’s strata.

Sagrada Familia continues to illustrate Gaudi’s fascination with nature and his interpretations go beyond traditional which for me is his genius.

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Inside are soaring treelike columns.

Their branches spread across the ceiling giving one the illusion of being in a forest.

One could go on and on about the natural elements at Sagrada Familia, but as I looked at my photos I was stuck by contrasting religious images.

Ones depicting the birth story are delicate and detailed.

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In sharp contrast are the dramatic interpretations of the crucifixion.

Not only are they crudely done, there is such incredible sadness in them.

Without question, Gaudi was an architect of tremendous talent who was not afraid to think outside the boundaries.  While other of his work is complete, Sagrada Familia has been a work in progress for 140 years.

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Thanks to private donations someday, perhaps by 2040, it will look like this.

As in his other books, Dan Brown’s Origin raises some interesting questions, but what I most appreciated was being influenced to take a second look at Gaudi’s designs and again being awed by his originality.

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