Once & Then Again

img_2247As hard as I try to hang on to summer, there’s no more denying that it’s fall when trees begin to look like this.

img_7514-1To reflect the changing season, warmer colors are in order and this runner brings the outside colors in.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt is a perfect time of year to pull out the Johnson Brothers dishes and top them with napkins that pick up the subtle colors in the runner. Each napkin is held with my favorite handmade rings, each of which is a casting of an herb.  

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThanks to the tree that inspired colors for the table, a casual setting is complete in just a few minutes.

img_7507Leaving the runner, candles and chicks in place made the next table a breeze.  I seldom find it necessary to start from scratch as it is fun to see how a tweak here and there can result in a totally unique look.    Here change is a different set of dishes which I so enjoy using because they remind me of a very special friend who gave them to me.

img_7508The leaf design suggested using black for accent. Easy enough with square salad bowls and napkins folded to make a pocket for the flatware.  

img_7511There you have it….one centerpiece, two tables.  The best advice I have for preparing an inviting table is to keep it simple and whenever possible use some of the same things again. And always, always have a good time expressing your creativity.

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

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Tablescape Thursday

Garden Beauty

sep-cruise_080908_1497Folks in Maine like their gardens, and from early summer through mid fall the landscape is dotted with color that my daughter describes as brave and outspoken.  Sometime during this period I enjoy going to Northeast Harbor to visit Asticou Azalea Garden.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt’s a treat to begin the adventure with lunch at the historic Asticou Hotel.

img_7377No lunch there would be complete without a popover, a trademark here and at the Jordan Pond restaurant in nearby Acadia National Park.

img_7360Lunch over, it’s a few steps to the garden which is as peaceful as the sign suggests it should be.

img_7359This time of year there are no azalea or rhododendron blooms. Rather there are layers of calming green textures and the beginning of fall color.

img_7364Listening in the quiet, I could hear the soft trickle of water passing beneath the lily pads, a few of which still wore their flower.

img_7361This day there was a light blanket of fog which created an air of mystery and contributed to the garden’s tranquility.  On a sun filled day, there is an entirely different energy here.

img_7369Other than a half dozen people the only visitor was a bee sipping nectar from one of the few remaining flowers.

img_7373Moving through this beautiful garden was like a walking meditation and for a few moments it was possible to just be.  That’s a special gift.

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

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Wow Us Wednesday

One More Time

With the end of summer comes the end of boating for us, and that always makes me a little sad.  I love cruising the Maine islands noting and appreciating their differences.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAll have rocky shores, some craggy,

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some with stones worn smooth by years of the sea smashing against them.

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Others are forests of green

flag/maine/North Havenor lichen covered

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAor bare but for a lighthouse standing guard.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAImages of all are etched in my heart, especially those of my favorite, Brimstone, where one end is rocks of all sizes and shapes

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAand the other is layers of stone with one lone stubby tree

cimg1722and grasses swaying in soft wind.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhat makes this island special to me are the rocks, dark and shiny in the water

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAand on a beautiful sunny day warm enough for a hot stone massage.

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A path leads to the top of Brimstone and standing there looking across the sea, one can imagine Europe’s coast in the far distance.

It is exploring the islands on days kissed by the sun and gentle seas that remind me Maine is the way life should be.

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

Found!

Have you ever put something away and not been able to find it?  I do that from time to time, and the hunt makes me crazy!  

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFor two years I looked high and low for these candelabra that fit so nicely into a bottle and are terrific on any table. Finally, they’ve been found  hiding in a basket under some books.  How did they get there!!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIroning a tablecloth from Provence, I noticed a border of sunflowers which are the last flower to bloom in Maine.  Right away a tablescape that would combine the found candelabra, sunflowers and the cloth began taking form in my mind. What I liked was the notion that the table would have sunny summer colors and at the same time be a lead in to fall.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFrom there it was easy to make the table happen.  Yellow plates, yes.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt was was a no brainer to accessorize with the cranberry tones of the tablecloth. I’m crazy about the square shape of the cup and saucer….so contemporary looking but from a set of dishes popular in the 1940’s.  Some things just don’t go out of style.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThese little guys, cigalles they are called in Provence, are supposed to keep a table cloth from blowing off the table, but here they are used as napkin rings.  They are fun finds from a street market in Gordes.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIn a matter of minutes, the table is set, and I’m off to the kitchen to prepare gazpacho with which to fill those cups.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERATomatoes are at their best right now, and gazpacho is one of my favorite ways to use them.  I throw all the vegetables in the blender with Clamato juice (1-2 cups) and blend until they are smooth. Here I used a mixed selection of tomatoes (4-6 depending on size) and a zucchini in place of the more traditional cucumber.  You can be creative with your vegetable choices.  When the ingredients are well blended, add a teaspoon each of red wine vinegar and sugar and salt and pepper to taste.  If you like a bit of spice, add a touch of Tabasco or red pepper.  

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI like to top the soup with diced veggies and a dollop of sour cream and when I have it I throw in some chopped lobster.  Hmm, I’m getting hungry just thinking about it!

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

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Share Your Cup Thursday

Full Plate Thursday

Tablescape Thursday

Foodie Friday

Hydrangea Inspiration

hydrangea_macrophylla_-_hortensia_hydrangeaI am amazed by how the colors on this one hydrangea bush change from first blooms to last.  They start out pink, change to blue and by now they become a showcase for a plethora of wonderful hues.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt was impossible to resist cutting some of the blooms and arranging them in square vases lined with hosta leaves.  

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThey were perfect backdrops for a few of my cranberry bells and on the table they, of course, became inspiration for a tablescape.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt started with  lovely Johnson Brothers plates, but there was something that just wasn’t right which is a sure signal to look in cabinets for something else that will work.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThese square cranberry plates provided the answer and fit perfectly in the middle of the patterned ones.  You just never know how different pieces become complements.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERALaundered napkins from last week’s table were laying on the counter, and it hit me they had the same colors as the hydrangeas.    On the table they go!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASo far this table defined itself in a nontraditional manner so it made sense that the flatware placement not follow rules either.  With the addition of cranberry side dishes and King’s Crown thumbprint glasses, a table setting was created, a very fun one for sure.  Then the question became will it be just the hubby and me who gather here or should I issue one of my last minute invites for someone to join us so that we all might enjoy what the hydrangeas inspired.  Guess the decision!

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

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Tablescape Thursday

Share Your Cup Thursday

Simple Things

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhen it comes to boating destinations, there are some places I never tire of.  One is Perry Creek, a peaceful inlet on Vinalhaven that is a favorite for our overnight get aways.

Perry CreekI love the quiet of the tree lined banks, 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAthe drama of a setting sun,

Perry Creekthe beauty of moonlight on the water

Perry Creek, fogand fog drenched mornings.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASometimes we are lucky enough to be the only boat in Perry Creek, but that doesn’t mean we are all alone.  No, we have for company a couple whose floating summer home is  eye candy.  Can you think of a place where plants could be happier?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASmall it may be, but there’s everything one could need for a simple life.  There’s no question these folks have got that figured out.  You know, there’s something to be said about keeping our needs to a minimum and focusing on what is all around.

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind