One Last Time

As you may know, I spend roughly half the year in Rockport, Maine, and half in Houston. This is the time of year when we start thinking about the return to Texas, and this is done with some regret. It is always hard to leave friends with whom we enjoy so many good summer times. This week we have shared meals, a last one at our house so I could use up whatever edibles were left.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASetting the table is always the first thing that happens when folks are coming for dinner. Ordinarily that is the easy part, but this one had me going in all different directions. I wanted to use the pumpkins and gourds that have been part of every table for the last month. To change them up a bit, they were worked in around a piece gotten some years ago from TJ Maxx.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThat was the easy part. For some reason I couldn’t decide where to go from there. I tried this and that and finally decided to let the centerpiece be the star of this last table.
Playing off the colors in the runner, black plates were used on brown placemats. That’s pretty subtle for me!
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFrom there, I added the harlequin patterned plates that are favorites.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFor whatever reason, they just didn’t strike me right so it was back to the cabinet for more black. Additional color would have to come from the salad that would be served on them.
I liked the coppery tone of the flatware with the darker ones, but having it lay alongside the plate didn’t satisfy me. Are you beginning to feel my struggle?
Ultimately, copper and silver were combined and after several arrangements contained in a napkin.

There’s nothing left to do but add a mix of stemware
pa194660.jpgand sweet little cordials for the remainder of the puffball soup that had been in the freezer.

After so many tries, it was time to walk away and be satisfied with the result.
pa194675.jpgConsidering the changes, it’s a good thing I started early preparing the table otherwise dinner may never have happened. Later in the day the sun hit just right on the pumpkins and gourds, and I knew it had been the right decision to let them be the star. Now if I can just figure out how to get them to Houston…….

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Tablescape Thursday

Stepping Into Fall

As much as I have resisted the coming of fall, the calendar says it’s here, and I am taking baby steps to welcome it.

The first step is purchasing pumpkins and gourds.  With their varied colors and textures, they are my favorite offerings of the season.

Company is coming for dinner, so the first place they are going to be used is as a centerpiece on the dining room table. They are arranged on a fall colored tablecloth that has been folded to serve as a runner.

With so much color to work with, the rest is easy.  As they so often are, the versatile Dollar Tree plates are a good choice.

This time they are on a flared placemat from TJ Maxx and topped with a fall themed napkin folded to have the pumpkin image front and center.

Until I walked out into the yard, I thought glasses and flatware were the finishing touches to the table.

Wind had littered the ground with small branches which I gathered to throw away. As I was breaking them up it occurred to me that the smaller twigs would be a fun addition to the centerpiece. I am a believer that anything can work.

So there you have it, the table is finished and is just as warm and friendly as the folks who will gather there.

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Tablescape Thursday


Never Too Many!

Beth's/pumpkinsNo question about it, I’m crazy about using pumpkins and gourds this time of year, and there’s no such thing as too many.


Wherever they are used, they add such color and texture, two of my favorite things  when it comes to setting a table.

img_7671Those elements make it very easy to put everything else together,

img_7676especially during this season when the colors are so rich and warm.

img_7668As important as anything on the table is the humble napkin.    For me, it’s always the final touch that keeps any table from being ordinary and there are lots of options.  The above fold is one you might want to try.img_7662With the napkin laid flat, fold it on the diagonal.  

img_7663Fold from left to right to make a smaller triangle.  Repeat.

img_7665Fold each side accordion style, starting at the middle.

img_7666Hold the napkin tightly about 1 1/2″ from the bottom and tie with twine or ribbon.  Adjust the folds.

Folding the napkin is not difficult.  Where it gets a little sticky is holding it with one hand and tying it with the other.  That’s when an extra pair of hands come in handy!  Next time I do this fold, I’m going to add a leaf or a herb sprig or a flower or a cinnamon stick….well, you get the picture.  Napkins are just another way to express your creative self.  Have fun!


Tablescape Thursday

You Can’t Beat Beth’s

Beth'sThere may be a better farm market than Beth’s in Warren, Maine, somewhere, but I’ve not found it.  No fancy signage will get you there, but when one of these signs is on a corner, you better turn and head in that direction.

Beth'sAny time of year is a good time to go, but fall is my absolute favorite.  Do you get a hint why?  Nowhere is there so much evidence of fall bounty.

Beth's/pumpkinsThere are more varieties of pumpkins than you can imagine

Beth's/pumpkins/gourdsand so many decorative gourds that it’s almost impossible to choose which ones to take home.  If all this color and texture doesn’t get you in the mood to do some fall decorating, nothing will!

Beth'sIsn’t the name of these wonderful?  They almost inspire me to have a ladies lunch just so I can use them as a centerpiece.

Beth'sInside is just as plentiful

and with so much beautiful, fresh produce grown on the acres Beth’s farms it’s hard not to buy more than you need.

Beth'sIn addition to all these temptations, there are lots of specialty products and baked goods made in-house.

Beth'sWith all it has to offer, you can bet many of the area restaurants rely on Beth’s for their produce.

Beth'sI’m not sure though if these pumpkins are going to have many buyers!

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You’re Gonna Love it Tuesday

Pumpkin Love

Beth'sAmong the many things that excite me this time of year is going to Beth’s Farm Market in Warren, Maine.

pumpkinspumpkinspumpkinsLinda  078There I am in pumpkin heaven surrounded by more textures and colors of pumpkins and gourds than ever imagined.

Linda  075The hard part is deciding what to get, so I just load my basket with no idea what happens next.

pumpkins/porchAt home, the front porch need a little change from summer to fall and my bounty will fill the bill.

porch/pumpkinsThe good for all seasons wheelbarrow has a new load of pumpkins and gourds that are perfect company for the mums bursting with color.

pumpkins/porchPlants on this little chair are looking a trifle puny, so they are tossed and replaced.  pumpkinsAren’t the textures on these wonderful?  The lighter orange one is called a peanut  pumpkin, and it’s easy to see why.

wreathSome of the small pumpkins could probably be attached to the burlap wreath, but sunflowers seem as much a part of fall as pumpkins and add a bit of contrast to the orange tones.

pumpkins/kitchenPorch finished, still there are more pumpkins, so inside they go

pumpkina/kitchenwhere they nestle happily on the kitchen island. It’s likely they will stay right there through Thanksgiving.  Now, that’s what I call bang for the buck! 

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Falling for Fall Porch Party

A Few of My Favorite Things

Christmas decorThe door is open so come on in for a few of my favorite things.  No, they’re not whiskers on kittens or snowflakes on mittens but some things that hold special memories and make me smile.

nativityThe piano has become a display of nativities all gathered together for the first time in several years.

nativityThis was my very first one bought early in my marriage from a store long closed.  I loved the simplicity of this one, just some wooly sheep protectively gathered round a baby.   If you look closely, you will see that the dog liked it too as the sheeps’ legs are lovingly chewed!

nativitynativitynativityThe collection is eclectic (surprised?), mostly from numerous holiday shows in which I showed my handwoven pieces.

nativityNone are large, but this one is particularly small with the figures being about the size of a finger joint.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMoving from nativities to angels, I’m laughing out loud wondering how many years ago I made these gals and what I was thinking when doing their faces.  They have been in a closet for a very long time, but I’m so glad to have rediscovered them as they definitely add quirkiness to the season.

Christmas decorAnd then there are the Santas sitting on the breakfast table.  I’m a sucker for clever ideas and love that gourds took on a whole new look.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERANow, in case you are wondering about those white pumpkins that have appeared here and there since October, here they are!  I had thought to paint them, but why bother when they are fine just the way they are?

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Metamorphosis Monday

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Ideas Aplenty

Thanksgiving is just around the corner, and many of us probably are still thinking about how to set our tables.  Some will be quite elegant, some will have a quiet sophistication, some will have a creative flair.  If you are still trying to come up with that just right centerpiece, here are some ideas that might get you started.

It’s not too late for pumpkins, and this one nestled in bittersweet is sure to be a hit.

Pumpkins and gourds have such wonderful color and texture that is perfect for the season,

and they can be used in so many different ways.

It doesn’t matter whether they stand alone,

 are used as complements for flowers in rich autumn tones 

or become part of a playful theme, they provide simple inspiration.

For touches of elegance, there’s nothing like adding silver candelabra

or for a more fun look, wine bottles can be converted with these nifty candleholders from Wisteria.

No matter how you choose to prepare your table for Thanksgiving or any other time, let it reflect your personality and style.  That way you are sure to get it right!

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The Day After

I don’t know about you, but I have election hangover.  I stayed up way too late and then couldn’t sleep for thinking about the billions, yes billions, of dollars spent on this campaign and wondering how many of those dollars influenced voters.  Somehow I suspect that most of us would vote the same way if the expenditures were far less, but that is subject for another discussion.

In any case, preparations for dinner the day after were going to be pretty simple.  No red, no blue, just the colors of fall in the gerbera daisies and the gourds that traveled with me from Maine and will be used through Thanksgiving.  How easy it is to use the gourds as a starting point.

Tonight they inspired me to choose orange placements and dishes  with orange, yellow and green.  These dishes happen to be the very first I have gotten from the Dollar Store where so many of you find such treasures.

For fun, I put the smaller gourds in the bowls.  I love these little guys which came from a friend’s garden.

When it’s just the hubby and me home for dinner we eat at the bar, a comfortable place to share events of the day.

No matter how simple the setting, it only takes a minute to add little touches that make whatever setting an unexpected treat.  For me one of those touches can be a cloth napkin tucked into a napkin ring or folded in a playful manner.

By sheer coincidence even the label on tonight’s wine happily blends into the color scheme.  Wonder if that will make it taste better!

All is ready, and when the hubby sat down he asked what he was supposed to do with that little thing in the bowl!  I thought for a second and thought it better not to suggest he bite into it.  I do want those gourds to be around for a while longer.

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Thursday Favorite Things

Together on a Spooky Night

A witch wandering in dimming light

spied a raven, dark as night.

Together they came upon a spooky house where nothing stirred, not even a mouse. 

“Let us settle right here,” they said, “and together we’ll share much good cheer.”

Plates black as the raven and bowls the colors of gourds will work just right

and make a table setting for Halloween night.

With napkins tied in a little pouch just so

we’re all set and ready to go.

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Dahlias and Gourds

I love dahlias, the last flowers blooming in the garden.  I love gourds, their wonderful colors and textures.  Do the two go together?  Well, for me they do!

Of course, the dahlias had to be in my much used green bottles which just happen to blend nicely with the gourds.

With those things in place, it was a no brainer to use these wonderful dishes that look so much like the season and complement perfectly the table runner.  I have to share with you the dishes were a birthday gift from a very special friend who saw them at Marshall’s and thought I had to have them.  Do you think she knows me well?  How lucky am I to have both her as a friend and something new and beautiful for the table!  

My first thought was to have the plates sit on the table’s wood surface, but there was too little contrast.  The fluted orange placemats solved that problem.

Picking up the black in the leaf design are  these oblong plates from Ikea which are used to separate the mug that will hold lobster stew from the plate.  As much as I like to fold napkins, this time I defer to  black napkin rings for a little bit of shine.

With everything in place, the dahlias and gourds are right at home together.  Now, I’m off to make the lobster stew which I will share tomorrow.  Won’t you join me?

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

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