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

For the Girls

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIn the last post, I confessed to not being able to leave a dining table top bare, and these azalea filled chicks took over the center.  A couple of days later, they have become inspiration for a tablescape.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt took only one glimpse into the cabinet to see what dishes would be a perfect complement.  As with so much else that is used here, these came from TJ Maxx.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe thumbprint glasses were a great find at a very cluttered antique shop.  It was the color that made them irresistible.  There has to be a reason , don’t you think?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERANot being in this house all the time, I forget what things are where.  When I opened a drawer and rediscovered this flatware, the stainless went back into the drawer.  The quality of the flatware is not the best, but the colors couldn’t be better. 

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The napkins are held in place by those things that supposedly help people keep track of their wine glass.    They don’t always keep someone from picking up the wrong glass, but they work very well as napkin rings.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI am in Maine a few days ahead of the hubby which is good excuse for a girls’ night, always such fun.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe gals have already volunteered to bring appetizers, salad and dessert which makes for very easy entertaining.  I think we all enjoy meals more when we don’t have to do all the preparation.  Speaking of, now that the table is done, it’s to the kitchen to do my part.  I’m thinking lasagna, always a good dish to feed a crowd and easy to make ahead. 

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Yes to Polka Dots and Bunnies

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 I was feeling pretty good about resisting all the tempting things at Pier One last week that would have made for a fun Easter table.  So why did I pop into TJ Maxx where I find it almost impossible to leave without something?  Yep, these polka dot bunny plates jumped right into my basket as if knowing that I’m crazy for polka dots and color.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe plates should have been enough, but, no, these placemats and napkins were irresistible!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERADriving home with the new purchases, my mind was already at work thinking about the pieces that would make putting a table together so easy.  There were the favorite textured pink glasses,

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAnapkin rings with all the right colors,

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAsimple white plates and funky flatware just waiting to come out of the cabinet.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOh, and don’t forget Bunny FruFru that would be right in the middle of things!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERALooking at the table, it was impossible to feel too guilty about the new purchases.  After all, they aren’t going to take up too much space and doubtless they will be used on other occasions.  Isn’t that how we justify yielding to temptation?

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Fall Tweaking

Maine houseSince we are in Maine from May to November and our winter visits are short, not too much generally happens here in the way of seasonal decorating.  This year, however, I was so impressed by all the fall changes I’ve seen on blogs, Pinterest and in magazines I decided to make a few here.

Maine houseChange began by removing summer slipcovers and revealing the autumn  colors hidden beneath.

Maine houseInstantly, the room seemed warmer, and it would have been OK to stop right there, but no, I got the bug.

Maine houseThe coffee table has a new vignette that uses some of my favorite things in a different way.

Maine houseOn a roll now, I made a quick trip to TJ Maxx, confident of finding some new happy. I was not disappointed!  I found a cozy new throw that will knock the chill off as I sit by the fire in the mornings and read your blogs and emails.  I was delighted to find that it has contrasting sides which suits my fancy for texture.

Maine houseNew pillows for the chairs were a bonus find

Maine houseas was a garland of fall leaves that I hoped would work above the fireplace.

Maine houseUnlike many of you, I have no mantle, and the narrow stone ledge is an almost impossible decorating challenge. The garland works though it was kinda tricky getting it to stay in place.  If you look closely, you’ll see a few leaves tucked up under the edge of the frame.

Maine houseExcept for moving a piece of furniture or two, that’s the extent of my fall tweaking, but it made such a difference even the hubby noticed it!

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The Witch Is In!

tablescapeLook who just landed in my pumpkin patch!  It took them a while to get to Maine because they probably stopped in to see Mary and Kathleen.  If memory serves me correctly, they are old friends.

tablescape/fallThe gals came in a flurry of leaves and landed on this cloth from TJ Maxx (thank you, Sue) which has all the colors of fall…red, gold, orange, green.  What a wonderful background for the pumpkins and gourds that I can’t get enough of these days.  

tablescapeIt was easy selecting dishes to go with the cloth.  Yellow plates served as chargers for these wonderful Italian terra cotta bowls in perfect colors.  

tablescapeShould I mention they are also from TJ Maxx?  When you live in Rockport, Maine, that is the best place to shop for table goods.  Oh, since we will gather at this table on Halloween, it is the perfect time to use these spooky stems, another purchase from TJ several years ago.

tablescapeThe copper colored flatware from Target is making its first appearance.  Remember, I recently made a trip there, stopping along the way, and was so excited to find new things for the table.

tablescape/napkinHiding in the napkin drawer was a set of multi patterned napkins that might have been made for this table.  A little accordion folded fan works every time for a special treatment, and I do like manipulating anything cloth!

tablescapeAdd salad plates of green and orange and the table is ready.  This one was so much fun to put together because it is full of color and texture with a touch of whimsy.

Photo from My Recipes

Photo from My Recipes

For dinner, we will take a clue from Yvonne and have a Chicken Cobbler Casserole right from the pages of Southern Living and a delicata squash salad from Make Mine Lemon that I can’t wait to try.  Check the recipes out…..they are winners.

Happy Halloween, friends, and thank you for stopping by!

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Bountiful Color

flowers/tablescapeWith these colors already on the table, how could I not play off them and create a setting as bright and happy?

tablescapeAs I puzzled about what dishes to select, I opened a cabinet to get something else and two sets of plates jumped right out.  At different times both were gotten at my favorite place TJ Maxx.

tablescapeAll are different in color and design and reflect an Italian theme which made it easy to decide what kind of food would be on the table.

tablescapeFrom here the going was easy.  Lime green placemats repeat color in the runner and the dishes,

tablescapeand an assortment of colorful napkins tucked into napkin rings added to the liveliness.  Can you guess how seating is determined?  Guys will be at the places with olive rimmed plates and black napkin rings while gals will have square plates and clusters of grapes.  All can choose their own place so long as it’s not next to a spouse!

tablescapeI love the way this table came together, almost by itself.  It took minimal effort, it is cheerful and fun, it mixes color and pattern all of which is my favorite kind of table.

food/pasta sauceNow that the table is done, I’m thinking a hearty sauce with lots of Italian sausage served over homemade pasta will be perfect.  Care to join us?

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Tablescape Thursday

Think White

“Think white,” said a blog friend Kathleen, who challenged her readers to come up with a fall tablescape done in white plus one color.  Now for me that is hard since most everything I have is about color.

white tablescapeI thought I’d be passing on her challenge until I saw these pattypan squash on a roadside table.  Not only did they get my attention because of their size, but they are, yep, white!  They are the beginning of inspiration, and I happily left dollars in the jar funded by honesty. 

white tablescapeThe pattypans need company, so off to my favorite farm stand, Beth’s.  There I found white pumpkins, eggplant and acorn squash.  How perfect!

white tablescapeI collected a few twigs thinking they somehow would work into the naturalness of the setting that is taking shape in my head. 

white tablescapeNow for the dishes.  No all white here,

white tablescapebut perhaps Kathleen won’t mind if I cheat a little and hide the pattern with a clever napkin fold.

 white tablescapeThe black napkin actually provides a better background than the plate for the white pumpkin .

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA With the addition of glitzy and spooky black stems just gotten from TJ Maxx and black handled flatware from Maine’s favorite department store, Reny’s, the table is coming together.

white tablescapeAll done except for finding some white votives.  The table is simple, the style that best suits us, but I must confess to it having been more of a challenge than one might think.

white tablescapeWalking past it later in the day, I love how the late afternoon sun makes the white come alive with a golden radiance.  I am looking forward to having tonight’s dinner here, but I doubt that it will be all white!  

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