Farmers Market Inspiration

I can’t think of a place where there is more color and texture than at a farmers market.

The produce, the flowers combine to make me want one of everything which means I always come home with more than I need.

This time the market buys provided inspiration for a table.  It was a little challenging getting the carrots through the neck of the bottle until I found just the right size.

IMG_9438With the centerpiece of flowers and vegetables in place, it was easy to choose the rest.  

I had planned on using the black plates with the harlequin bowls, but one plate was missing….how does that happen?  

The solution was to do half of the place settings in reverse which added a touch of the unexpected.

As I added glassware to the table, I remembered the little Mason jars which I use for the kid drinks at tini time.  Off went the chosen water glasses to be replaced by the jars. 

This table was such fun to create, and as I stood back and looked at it it dawned on me that inspiration can come from anywhere.  You just have to be open to the suggestions.

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

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Tablescape Thursday

 

Olive Oil Cans & A Corkscrew

Ordinarily whatever happens to be on the dining room table inspires a dinner, but this time around the reverse was true.  I really wanted to make lobster risotto for our gourmet group which made me think an Italian theme would be a nice accompaniment. After looking around to see what would work to make that happen, these old olive oil cans  and an antique corkscrew from a Florence flea market got the table started.

From there creating a look with an Italian flair got pretty easy.  Of course, I couldn’t resist adding a few bottles of flowers from the garden.    All were on a beautiful handwoven textile made with threads as fine as a strand of hair.

There was no question about what dishes to use.  The colors in the centerpiece made these harlequin patterned ones the perfect choice.   These are among my oldest, and I never tire of using them as they lend themselves to such a variety of accessories.  Here the plate is on a copper toned charger which added a touch of texture.

Also from Italy, Cortona I believe, are my favorite napkin rings cast to depict a variety of herbs.

Because I’m not a real rule follower, I like mixing and matching.  This time I chose to do that with flatware.

My rule for setting a table is to keep it as simple as possible for the comfort of guests so I avoid using more pieces than are required for the meal.  Here only a bowl for the risotto and a salad plate were necessary.

Keeping it simple doesn’t mean sacrificing warmth or interest which together welcome guests to your table.

A word about the lobster risotto or any risotto for that matter.  Many people steer away from risotto thinking it has to be made  just before serving.  Not so!  You can make it ahead of time saving enough liquid to add at the last minute.  Then all you have to do is heat until all the liquid is gone, dish it up and serve.  That takes all the stress away.

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

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Tablescape Thursday

Flowers As Art

Beautiful floral arrangements are works of art, particularly when they are created to meet a challenge such as that demanded by Florescence, an annual themed flower show in Houston. For two days the entries are displayed at the Museum of Fine Arts where huge crowds marvel at the astonishing creativity. 

 With so many of you interested in tablescapes, how could I not share these with you!  The arrangements  were to depict a dining experience at an exotic destination on a functional table for two. You may not find every element of the tablescape to be practical, but there is inspiration on each for our at home tables.

This is a very formal table with layers of textiles complementing the gold accents on the stemware and china.

Unique features are the unexpected use of orchids on the candlestickand the fish jumping into bowls filled with iridescent baubles.

As with the first table, a tall arrangement is the focal point.   I couldn’t help but think of sitting at either and wanting to move the arrangement to the side.

Two things, the teacup as a containerand a natural leaf secureing the napkin, are features  worth remembering.

This table is all about fun and thanks to the clever arrangement I could almost forgive its size as a centerpiece.  The use of pattern and color is consistent in every detail

right down to the elephants suspended at the layered corners.  What sets this table apart is its touches of whimsey.

Here pattern is key,and the layered textiles define the color palette used in both the flower selection and tableware.  

Overall, this is a simple table made warm and inviting by color and texture.  Did you notice that the floral arrangement is on the side?

So, there you have it, four different looks.  Keep in mind that in each case the table is secondary to the floral design. As beautiful as they are, the arrangements are a bit overstated for an at home table, but there are wonderful ideas for presentation and flower selection. Hopefully, there is something on each table that would translate to your personal style be it flower selection, color combination, the layering of cloth, the mixed textures or touches of whimsey.   I’d love to know your take away.

  i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

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Wow Us Wednesday

Tablescape Thursday

Share Your Cup Thursday

Burlap and Candy Canes

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI so look forward to the arrival of December as it means once more having a Christmas table every day for a month.  The seasonal dishes stay in the cabinet all year so it is their time to shine.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFor years this very fun set of pottery by Bella Ceramica has been my favorite.  Every piece has either a smiling Santa or a Christmas tree, each of which appeals to me because of its slightly irregular design.  

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThey lend themselves to adding fun accents like this flatware and to using traditional reds and greens as well as their variations.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFor napkins, Santa’s smiling face is the perfect way to hold them in place.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhat I especially like about these dishes is they work well with a variety of looks.  Here they are paired with burlap and an antique wooden mold for something of an old timey feel.  Thanks to inspiration from the flatware, candy canes with candles to match are part of the centerpiece.  When the kids are here what do you bet the candy canes will disappear?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERANot all meals will be at the big table.  Lucky for us in Houston, there are still nights when the hubby and I can eat on the porch, and the Christmas pottery works as well outside as in.   Nothing could be simpler than this table with the main attraction being a quilt made oh so many years ago by my grandmother and great aunt. I can close my eyes and see them sitting in front of the fireplace that heated the room stitching and watching The Guiding Light!  They probably never gave thought to the notion that one of their quilts someday would be on my table rather than a bed or that it would be so special to me.  It is such memory that makes the Christmas season so special.

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

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Tablescape Thursday

Those Special Evenings

“If you really want to make a friend, go to someone’s house and eat with him.  The people who give you their food give you their heart.”

Cesar Chavez

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThere are few things I like better than spending time with friends, especially those evenings when we gather around the table to share a meal.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI love the laughter

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAand the sometimes energetic discussions, most of which seem to evolve around politics. These days that subject can evoke a lot of emotion as well as some pretty funny comments.

Foodie Adventure Spain/fishDinner is always a treat,  and most of the time it is a meal to which we’ve all contributed.  That way no one has to spend all day in the kitchen, and everyone is comfortable having played a part in the preparation.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhat I particularly get a kick out of is the effort made to set a lovely table.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAgain and again I see how that is opportunity for one to express their unique creativity.  Too, an inviting table always makes the food taste even better!

So, what is your favorite way to spend an evening?

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Tablescape Thursday

Favorite Things Thursday

Peony Love

peoniesYou cannot imagine how excited I get over the peonies that fill my garden with their vibrant blooms for a few short weeks this time of year.  These are not a sight to be seen in the warmer climes of Houston.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWith so many blooms, how is it possible to resist cutting and bringing them inside to add beauty to any room?  You can bet that some will always find their way to the dining room table to become the focal point of a tablescape.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMy oft used bottles are perfect containers and are so easy to configure in attractive arrangement.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWith these beauties on the table, the rest is easy. Dishes and flatware that I found last year on sale at Target are understated additions.  Napkins pick up the colors in the antique cloth that is used as a runner and the turned back corners add a little flair.  Simple to say the least!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOne of the peony blossoms dropped some of its petals and rather than throw them away, I scattered them on the table.  I wonder if the folks who ate here thought I’d been negligent in not cleaning them up!

IMG_6839Preparing a table is my favorite part of readying for any meal, and, as this one shows, it doesn’t have to be elaborate to be appealing.  When nature provides such abundant beauty as inspiration for creativity, the hard work is already done.

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

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Tablescape Thursday

Inspiration Thursday

Thanks to the Rain

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAA tablescape can begin in unexpected ways. This one is thanks to three days of  drenching rain which is hard on top heavy blooming plants.  It made me sad to see all of a tall columbine’s beautiful  flowers flattened on the ground.  I staked as many as possible, but most I cut and filled bottles and vases with them. It’s no surprise that some became part of a centerpiece.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt was a wonderful surprise to discover how sculptural the flower was.  I don’t know whether that’s normal or whether the shape was in part due to the rain.  No matter,  it’s  lovely!

The  beautifully designed woven textile from Italy became the influence for an Italian themed tablescape.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAA collection of large plates with scenes reminiscent of Tuscany served as chargers,

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAperfect backdrops for new square black bowls from Ikea. The flatware from TJ Maxx was a great accent color, far more interesting than the silver I first put on the table.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I couldn’t resist once more using these napkin rings, also from Italy.  Without question, they will show up again and again on one or another table as they are among my favorite things. 

IMG_6786Preparing this table brought back so many memories of time in Italy, a place that, like Maine, has a piece of my heart.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAll that is missing now are the friends who will join us for a dinner of risotto with Italian sausage and caprese salad. 

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

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Inspiration Thursday

Tablescape Thursday