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

 

 

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!

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

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Tablescape Thursday

 

Tablescapes

Festive Holiday Tables

It’s a fun time of year to visit stores to see what’s new for festive holiday tables.  Of course, that always makes me wish for new things which I’ve sworn off of, but that doesn’t mean the displays aren’t full of good ideas.  There were plenty in the lovely tables set at Crate & Barrel.

  Wood chargers are popular choices these days and work with a variety of looks.

Here they are combined  with other natural elements, real or not.  And take a look at the knitted table runner, a real eye catcher that made the table appear even more warm and cozy.  How I wish I were a competent knitter, but that not being the case I’ll be keeping an eye on the after Christmas sale!

Touches of whimsey are such fun.  How simple to add something like this cute little critter and make a table oh so playful.

Putting a little take away happy at each place is a great idea, no matter the time of year, for when friends are coming to dinner.  

There are so many different ways to create a festive table.  A little sparkle and shine dresses up any table whether it be by adding a glimmery napkin

or glistening tableware and sparkling accessories.

What every table had in common was multiple textures

and a centerpiece that allowed everyone to see and be seen.  As I studied each one and came away with some great ideas, it dawned on me that there are no rules for tablescaping. That’s what makes it such a wonderful opportunity to express one’s creative flair.

Have fun as you do your own festive table and don’t be shy about getting inspiration from other sources!

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

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Tablescape Thursday

Art, Flowers

Art As Inspiration

After introducing you to Florescence, I cannot resist showing you more of the incredible floral arrangements interpreting the show’s challenges.  Before going on I should tell you that Florescence is one of the largest competitive national flower shows sanctioned by the Garden Club of America in the U.S.  

It is impossible not to be awed by these creations

and seeing them displayed with the art that inspired them makes them even more dramatic.

I was blown away by creations inspired by  couture dresses from the Museum of Fine Art’s collection.

As I look again at this photo, I notice that the arrangement mimics the flow of the dress…..absolutely stunning!

Here a styrofoam head wears an elaborate headdress made primarily of natural plant material.  What sea goddess wouldn’t love to be so adorned?

Many times I see wooden boxes used on tables as centerpieces. Unique here is the mix of succulents, roses, lilies and tropicals that demonstrate how anything can work together provided the choices are selected with a critical eye.

Particularly interesting were arrangements incorporating abstract qualities inspired by pieces in the Museum’s contemporary art collection.

The varied materials used with flowers and plant materials was wonderful,

and I will be keeping my eyes open for elements that add interest.

 Though I marveled over over the elaborate creations, I could not see such in my future.  I was attracted to the ikebana technique because it seems a little more doable,

 and I like the simplicity both of the containers and the flower design.

If I were to step a little out of my comfort zone, however, it would be to do something like this, so full of color and whimsey.

Oh, there is so much more I could show you, but hopefully, there is enough here to encourage your own creativity.  It would be wonderful to see the results.

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

Table Settings, Tablescapes

Getting Back to Normal

After a couple of months of doing nothing much except laying in bed with my foot elevated, it felt good to get back to normal activity like cooking  and setting the table.

Mind you the effort was minimal, but it doesn’t take much to make a happy table especially when there’s already something there from which to work.  The handblown vases that have been  on the table for weeks gave me a starting place.

I started with pink placemats, but the turquoise ones insisted on being chosen.  Since I like color I had no problem letting them have their way.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAChoosing the napkins was a piece of cake as these multicolored ones from Anthropologie play off  both the vases and the placemats.  No fancy folds required because the fun napkin rings continue the colorway.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt was tempting to add more color with the dinner plates, but I opted for white ones

and added salad plates with playful patterns and complementary colors.  They were pleased to be included as they have been hiding in the cabinet for far too long!

Finished with the ever faithful Fostoria thumbprint stems, a gift from my now hubby several years before we were married, the table is done.  It is a first step that makes me feel that all is right with the world!  The hubby is even happier as he has had enough of kitchen duty and is glad to welcome me back to the business of preparing meals.

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

Joining

Tablescape Thursday

Random, weaving

A Happy Accident

My drawing skills are nil, but I’ve always enjoyed blending colors and thinking in terms of design possibilities.  It took me many years, however, to find my creative niche and that was thanks to an industrial psychologist for whom I was doing temporary work.  It was he who said my underlying need to be creative was going to be the source of much frustration if I didn’t yield to it.  “But,” I said, “I’m not creative!”  By walking me through a series of questions, he proved me wrong and from that day forward I feel that life has been one great exercise in creativity.  

WeavingHow weaving came into the picture is a happy accident.  At my girls’ elementary school auction someone donated 6 weeks of weaving lessons which no one bought.  Somehow I ended up with those lessons, and they opened the door to a whole new world.  I never dreamed anyone would want to buy anything I made, but from the beginning that proved not to be true.  

Early on, I concentrated on wall pieces and created large installations for several Houston office buildings and banks.  I won’t go into all the reasons why, but it didn’t take long for me to figure out that wasn’t going to be my direction.

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While trying to determine my next step, I remembered that as a child I loved designing paper doll clothes, mixing patterns and colors in unique combinations.  That led to weaving cloth for garments, and I was thrilled by the results. My first piece was a vest which I sold right off my back.  That led to years of designing one-of-a-kind wearables for clients who valued my work as a means of expressing their uniqueness.

flowers/tablescapeThere were many wonderful moments during that period, but several years ago I burned out on cutting and sewing and began working with designers to create blankets, table linens, accent pillows and yardage for dining room chairs, piano benches, stools, etc. Such work gave me incredible design freedom.

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At the same time, I began focusing, too,  on fashion accessories such as scarves and shawls.  

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These have allowed me to satisfy clients who appreciate having a distinctive piece.

caleb-1-2I never would have dreamed that weaving would become a vocation.  It is certainly not one that ensures upward mobility or a hefty salary, but it feeds the soul and becomes a means of self expression.  For that I will ever be grateful.

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

weaving

Lulu’s Studio

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERANow that you’ve shared a bit of the history of weaving and been introduced to a variety  of looms, come on into my studio where there is quite a sophisticated setup.  The loom is a 16 harness, 60″ production loom designed by AVL in Chico, California.  With it, the design possibilities are limitless.

img_8625After years of struggling with graph paper and colored pencils, I now do all the preliminary design work on the computer which allows me to glimpse what the fabric will look like no matter what its color combinations and treadling order.  I can spend hours testing the variations and determining the integrity of the cloth.

img_4963When I am ready to weave, I choose colors from the vast array of fibers in the studio.

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I use primarily silk, rayon, perle cotton, bamboo and chenille threads because they are lightweight and drape beautifully.  There was a time when I dyed many of the fibers, but once I found a resource (Silk City Fibers) that had not only the ones I desired but a rainbow of colors, that step was eliminated.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOnce a design and colors are determined the hard part of preparing the loom begins.  First,  the warp threads are wound and placed on a warping board.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThen  they are threaded on this device

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAand wound onto the beam.  These are the easiest steps.

img_4956Now comes the hard part of threading the loom without making an error in the threading order that has been designed on the computer.  Not only does this take a lot of time, it requires intense concentration, no conversation or TV watching!  When I need a break, I’ve learned to be very careful to make note of the spot where I quit.

img_4421With the threading done, checked and rechecked, the warp is tied onto an apron and the weaving begins.  The computer is connected to the loom and a little black box reads the treadling order as I work the foot treadles and throw the fly shuttle.  In just minutes, I can see the results of all the preliminary work  which gives me such instant gratification.  And you can’t imagine the sigh of relief when I see that there are no threading errors.  Believe me, they show up quickly and after saying a few colorful words, there is no choice but to correct the mistake!

Many yards of fabric have come from this studio, and I haven’t even touched the surface of  creative possibility.  If you will come back one more time, I’d love to tell you the story of how I got into weaving and show you some of what has come off the loom.

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind