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

Joining

Tablescape Thursday

 

Art: The Magic

Art is the only way to run away without leaving home.

Twyla Thorpe

For me, looking at art is running away, enjoying the magic of another’s creative reality. A few days ago I went to Houston’s Museum of Fine Arts for an exhibit of sculpture by Ron Mueck.  To say the least, I was blown away.

He is called a hyperrealist sculptor, and it is easy to see why.  No detail is left to the imagination.

Using resin, silicone, fiberglass and other materials he creates human forms that portray life through its various stages: birth,

middle age,

elderly.

Not always are the figures true to scale.  They may be larger 

or smaller giving one the idea that size reflects the enormity of the event represented.

It is said that some of Mueck’s images reflect Christian imagery 

while others draw on the perfection of Renaissance painting.

Whatever the influences, Mueck’s sculptures demand attention. Like them or not, one cannot help but appreciate the artist’s attention to detail and the time such must require.

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

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

Joining

Tablescape Thursday

Share Your Cup Thursday

What’s With Delphiniums?

IMG_6797So many plants grow easily in Maine.  My problem is not being very expert about any of them.  Take delphiniums.  They are beautiful, but little did I know about how tall they grow.  As I watched them mature, I thought it possible that I’d planted one of Jack’s beans!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe taller they g0t the more top heavy they became meaning they bent and broke no matter how carefully they were staked.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWell, I thought, I’ll just cut these beauties and take them inside.  As soon as they were disconnected from their stem the blue ones began raining petals, but the lighter colors proved to be long lasting on table tops throughout the house.  On this table runner, they were also the inspiration for a casual table.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt was one of those nights for a house favorite, fish chowder.  Playing off the yellow in the  runner, these plates served as a charger for varied colored bowls.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFor salad, I chose these harlequin patterned dishes.  I never tire of using them as they are so versatile and add interesting pattern.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERANapkins are one of my favorite table accessories as they are not only functional but add a little artistic flair to any setting.  This one is a simple accordion fold which when spread becomes a standing fan.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAs this understated table shows, it doesn’t take much to make the ordinary special.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERANow, about those delphiniums.  I felt so defeated by their unruliness that I cut them down to the ground, but they are a very determined flower.  Here it is September and they have come back ready to bloom and still growing!  We’ll see if I’m any luckier controlling them the second time around.

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

Joining

Tablescape Thursday

Inspiration Thursday

Thursday Favorite Things

Continuing On

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

For more years than we can remember, 8 of us have gathered once each month for what we call gourmet night.  Most of the time it’s here in Houston, but we’ve also made it happen in Hackberry, Louisiana, Charleston and Rockport, Maine.  No matter where we are, it’s a fun evening of lively conversation, laughter and good eats. Best of all, it is a continuation of long time friendships.

How it works is the host couple plans the menu, generally 4 courses, and sends it to each of the other couples with their particular food assignment.  This works very well as no one has to do an inordinate amount of preparation.

IMG_5627When it’s my turn, as it was in January, I have as much fun setting a table as planning the menu.  In fact, I usually set the table several days in advance and let it help determine what should be served.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMore often than not my table is inspired by whatever textile I pull from my abundant collection.  This one is a beauty from Thailand handwoven of silk.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFrom there, I look around the house to see what would work as a centerpiece, and it is always a surprise to see what captures my eye.  Very often you can be sure it has a touch of whimsy.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWith this being the first gourmet of the season, it seemed right to add a little glamor to the table, and I chose to use china that once belonged to my mother.  That means the table is as fancy as it’s ever going to get in this house.

Napkin folding is one of those tricks that makes a table special, and none could be easier than this one that forms a pocket for the flatware.

IMG_5618As I was finishing the table, it struck me as somewhat sophisticated which made me think the meal should be the same.  From somewhere in the recesses of my mind came an image of Beef Wellington.  Along with brie topped with a sundried tomato mixture, watercress soup, roasted fingerling potatoes and a chocolate raspberry tart it was perfect for a dinner celebrating friendship and a new year.   

29112_beef_wellingtonDon’t let the idea of Beef Wellington scare you off.  It’s not as hard as it appears.  There are many recipes, and all have some mushroom/onion/garlic mix spread on puff pastry that is wrapped around a tenderloin.  I used baby bells which are more flavorful than button mushrooms, and I also encased the beef with thin slices of pancetta which added a little mystery to the taste.  I wish I had added some chopped spinach to the mushroom mix now that I think about it.  As with any recipe, it’s always fun to experiment with your own touches.

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

Joining

Inspiration Thursday

Tablescape Thursday

Another Look

tablescapeAs soon as I saw these chargers last week on Must Love Home, I knew I had to have them and was at Michael’s as soon as the doors opened hoping to find them.  Lucky me, not only did I find them, they were on special.

tablescapeWhen I got them home, the first thing I noticed was they were a perfect match for the runner that had been on the table for several days. (No, I don’t change everything from one meal to another.)  

tablescapeAlready, the tulips had been replaced with beautiful orange roses and candles.  Playing off the slight orange in the runner had appeal to me last time around, so it was impossible not to take the contrast between the brilliant pinks and orange a step further.

tablescapeWith all the color on the table, there was little need to add more so white plates were in order. A white napkin, however, was a bit dead so one repeating  the colors in the charger provided a just right touch.

napkinsThe napkin fold, a simple triangle, is held in place with cute little wooden dragonflies. I’m not sure what their real purpose is, but they are a fun alternative to napkin rings.

tablescapeOnce again I can’t resist using the textured pink glassware, this time adding a salad plate.  I do love these pieces, and they are a complement to so many tables.

tablescapeThe finishing touch is multi colored flatware from Ross.  With just a few changes, a table takes on an entirely different look and is ready for the next meal in only a few minutes.

I’m trying a new recipe tonight, so keep your fingers crossed it turns out.  One thing’s for sure: the salmon will look very good on this table!

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

Joining

Tablescape Thursday

Share Your Cup Thursday

Thursday Favorite Things

Foodie Friday

Ideas Aplenty

Christmas decorIf you want to get lots of ideas for holiday decor, drive around your neighborhood or go on a home tour to see what others are doing.  That’s what I did this weekend, and it was a real eye opener.  Some people must spend weeks readying their homes while others are happy with simpler statements.

WreathsWreaths, suspended on doors and sconces, are common to holiday decor.  Each one of these is different in style but share the use of natural elements.

GarlandsGarlands abound inside and out, and whether simple or fancy, they make such a statement about the home.

ChandeliersIn some homes, chandeliers become more than a source of light during the season.  I have none so it is fascinating to me to see how they transform into works of art.

As much as I appreciate the elaborate decorations, I must confess to being more drawn to those understated creations that I can actually imagine doing myself.

Christmas decor

What could be simpler than an evergreen surrounded by a few sprayed pine cones

Christmas decoror a container filled with flocked ones?

Christmas decorTrees, adorned only with white lights, add such friendly welcome to a porch (yes, those are azaleas blooming in December)

Christmas decoras do red ribboned reindeer bearing a load of poinsettias.

Christmas decorNo ordinary mailbox is this but it becomes part of the season festooned with red and green and with its backdrop of richly colored cyclamen.

Christmas decorNo holiday decor would be complete without nutcrackers

Christmas decorand Santas and oh what a treat it is to see them presented in such fun ways.

I can tell you that after seeing all this, I felt a real need to go home and decorate, but then I got to thinking about having to put stuff away after the holidays and thought maybe not!  Well, maybe a little…..

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

Joining

Metamorphosis Monday

The Scoop

Wow Us Wednesday

Feathered Nest Friday