St Patty’s Day Tablescape

I know I’m not Irish ancestry… but isn’t everyone Irish on St. Patty’s Day?

What’s more refreshing than a bright green color after a long dark winter.  Green predominately reminds us of Spring.  Grass begins to turn green and crocuses spring up with green leaves a sure sign of spring. I think setting my March table with an eye for green anything, gives a nod to the Irish Day.

So fill up your pot with the corn beef and cabbage and set your table for “Luck O’ the Irish” dinner.  This month my bright green placemats start the setting, topped with a wood look square charger.  I used a very simple square inexpensive corelle plate for squared symmetry.  I scored the napkins a few years back at CB2.    Purchased as 4 napkins in various black and white patterns.

Fresh green table setting
Fresh green table setting

 The little clovers in the center are just stuffed felt Michaels store holiday items.

 The best part of the table is the centerpiece the Leprechaun is hiding the wine bottle beneath his clever orange beard I believe he is smiling.  After photographing I decided the table needed a bit more glint so I changed the flatware to gold and added some gold coins for Luck!

gold flatware
gold flatware
Added Gold
Added Gold

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Leprechaun hiding the wine
Leprechaun hiding the wine
Irish Setter
Irish Setter

 

 

Set your lucky table and see if your Irish eyes are smiling!

Go then, eat your bread in happiness and drink your wine with a cheerful heart; for God has already approved your works. Ecclesiastes 9:7

 

 

Light the Winter Night – It’s a Leap Year!

Create a warm atmosphere outdoors in the winter

Free outdoor lighting !
Free outdoor lighting !

In the event of a cold, cold winter, use it to your advantage to create a warm atmosphere outside your house with an ice mold candle. IMG_2862 The water is free and all you need is the bucket to freeze it in.  I will be willing to share my secret with you… shhhhh…it’s the all about the timing.  I didn’t believe it but this silly bucket created the perfect candle mold. I left the bucket full of water outside on a very cold day that had a temperature about 20 degrees for approximately 8 hours.  Then I loosened the ice from the mold dumped out the water and voila!  a beautiful mold, after only a few try and fails.

Overfroze
Overfrozen  epic fail!

So… try to light the outdoors on a winter night and create an atmosphere of warmth with a candle and celebrate the leap year.

My only thought is …if we have to add an extra day every four years…why does it have to be in the winter?  So make the best of it.   Enjoy!

 

 

Perfect Ice Candle molded
Perfect Ice Candle molded

 

The Lord is my light and my salvation whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life of whom shall I be afraid?  Psalm 27:1

 

Soup’s on!

Soups On!

Ever thought of just having soup for dinner?  Its not just for a  luncheon meal.  You can create a hearty soup or stew and serve it for dinner too. Try a hearty winter soup like a hearty Italian Beef soup.  And I’ve got just the setting for the dinner. It’s a casual affair and this time no intricately folded napkins.  Red plaid napkins and big  red bowls for filling.

Soup's On!
Soup’s On!
Winter Moods
Winter Moods

 

I remember as kid,  soup was often kept warm inside the thermos.  Instead of hot drink it was a nice hot soup.

Thermos
Thermos

I used some antique plaid thermos’s for the centerpiece, along with some wooden skates. A big pot of soup stew pot sits at table side for easy serving on a cold Boston night.

stew pot
stew pot for easy cooking and serving on a cold night.

 

I warmed the setting up with a couple of lit candles. Not just any candle but these candles are unique with the wooden wick so they provide a crackling sound like the sound of a real fire. Don’t forget to serve it while the soup is still hot.  IMG_2842

Chow!

 

This time last year I was enjoying Lake Placid NY, so hop on over to the travel blog page to read about our trip to  Lake Placid NY.  <click

Warmed by the outdoor fire on Lake Placid
Warmed by the outdoor fire on Lake Placid

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Christmas 2015 A Season of Woodland

I can’t help but feel inspired when I visit the shops that carry tableware and home goods.  Everywhere I look I see natural tree limbs, birch or pine and toned down colors for the Christmas table.  No glitz and shine  and baubles but trending is,  a simple serene setting that takes you back to Grandma’s house when you were a child.

I must be on a kick for folded napkins, because this year I seem to be folding for every holiday.  The Christmas tree fold is the focal point of each plate setting and I followed the  instructions using green napkins that I had on hand. IMG_2764 I carefully ironed each napkin so the folds would be straight.  Note to friends: be sure to use only napkins made with cotton fiber content, polyester napkins or nylon napkins will not hold a shape.

The plaid tablecloth was an after Christmas purchase from last year that I bought on sale, since I saw the plaid trending and I love a sale!  The same Ubiquitous white plates were used again. The square form allows you fully appreciate the tree shape and texture of the napkin.  Above the napkin tree form I found an adorable little pine cone tealight at Homegoods to use for the topper.  Green pine bough with tiny lights and a birch candle center the table for a warm Christmas dinner 2015.

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Christmas table 2014
Christmas table 2014

Last year I had noticed this trend coming and searched very hard to replicate a sense of woodland setting.  I used red quilted placemats with black chargers under white plates.  For the napkins I used a natural beige tone one I found with a tiny Christmas emblem on it.  The napkin ring I created myself using a wooden curtain ring and tied with twine a rounded piece of faux greenery into a circle for a wreath and added a copper bell. In the center I placed a pine bough with tiny white lights.  The  copper flatware I was able to purchase from amazon. A simple birch candle and lantern complete the look.

 

 

I’m seeing plaids and fur and so much warm fuzzy decor that I want to hibernate for the winter.  Last year I created bottle covers out of old plaid shirts IMG_1878and lined them with dollar store foil car shades.  The inside is now insulated to keep your bottle warm or cold and outside is wrapped in classy plaid.  I stitched some of the edges of the fabric using a blanket stitch for a different look.  My bottles are dressed for every season.

If you’re trying to conceive a woodland look this Christmas look around your house for things of wood, check your backyard for pine boughs or birch wood. Use tall taper candles and wrought iron or copper tones of metal are trending. Plaid and fur additions can cozy up your home, even if you are living in a warm climate ..evoke the feeling of a cozy home and your back at Grandma’s house.

Luke 2:12  “And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.”

#grandmashouse

 

 

 

Hanukkah 2015

IMG_2747Our 2015 Hanukkah tablescape this year I decided to create a napkin folded into a Star of David.  The napkins in varied shades of blue are much more interesting than using only one color on  the table.  I love a shimmering table, so this year I found a beauty in silver at  TJMaxx the silver shimmer tablecloth reminds me that the night is called the Festival of Lights. IMG_2745

 

So with another holiday to celebrate, we plan and prep for a dinner celebration and in my house it always starts with the tablescape.

Hanukkah Table 2014
Hanukkah Table 2014

To me, a blue table signifies the Jewish holiday with drama.  Last year we set out these deep blue wine glasses purchased at TJMaxx, trump up the glossy drama, the navy blue glass with white etching  are unique and glamorous. Any formal table must have cloth napkins. These blue beauties are from Pier1 Imports, with a silver edge they shimmer with a glint of silver, matching that of the plate chargers.  Since I need so many white plates, I cheated by using my simple white Corelle plates which are masked by the glitzy silver and blue. A string  of silver light bulbs in the center cast a glow with a bright cheerfulness for the evening dining.  The table runner with the star of David sets the center with nod to the season of starry nights.  No Chanukah table is complete without the Menorah candle. The tiny candles burn out quickly unlike the oil that lasted for 8 days.  The Miracle of Hannukah! Image 12

This year the Holiday begins at Sundown on December 6th. Hanukkah, which is sometimes called The Festival of Lights, seems a bit perplexing to me. As a young child, I thought everyone who didn’t have Christmas lights on Christmas MUST be Jewish…and yet they call this holiday the Festival of Lights. I know…I know…. the true story of Hanukkah was about the miracle of oil …a 1 day supply of oil to keep the candles burning, lasted 8 days and nights. We like to entertain and eat and cook food so we appreciate every reason to have another dinner party.   My playlist of music includes some beautiful songs  by Michele Gold she shares the tempo and lyrics of her background in her heritage.

Stay tuned for 2015 tablescape. Posting pictures soon.

Place tags
Place tags

Our dinner consists of beef brisket (only the red will do). The latkes are potato delights that justify the need for fried foods which they say represents the oil for Hanukkah.

Even though I am not blessed with a Jewish bloodline, I respect and honor Israel and its people.

Psalm 122:6 Pray for the Peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love thee.

 

Amalfi Coast Beauty

Mediterranean Sea coast of Italy
Mediterranean Sea coast of Italy

If your traveling through Italy, just below Rome is the stunning Amalfi Coast.   Its a must see!  The beaches, the beauty of the coast and the ‘Mama Mia’ highway with 1643 turns, high up on the cliffs,  at the edge of the blue, blue Mediterranean Sea, this is an incredible sight.   Even the Italians ‘holiday’ here on this coast!  This ocean side facing Greece is a can’t miss in Italy.  The Island of Capri its rocky coast and lure of the Sirens.  Legend mythology reads that the Sirens were beautiful but dangerous creatures (described as mermaids, half women half fish) that lured the sailors with their beautiful voices to their doom, causing the ships to crash on the reefs near their island.

Mermaids by the Sea
Mermaids by the Sea

Odysseus, asked that the crew to plug their ears with wax and ordered them to bind him on the mast of the ship so they could not hear the lure of mermaids call. He also told them that no matter how much he begged, they should not untie him. When they passed near the island, Odysseus begged his shipmates to let him go, but none heard him. Hence the nod towards mermaids in all the towns along this coast.

Positano Italy
Positano Italy

The towns along the coast hang in suspension from the top of the rocky coastline to the bottom of the bright blue sea. This day we went to Positano a quaint town close to Capri.  We arrived by boat, since vehicles cannot reach the bottom of the town near the sea.  Our private water tour took us past famous sites, such as where Jackie O. would sunbath at a hidden villa (I happen to idealize Jackie O.).  Once we arrived, we walked up the steep hillside to eat a simple lunch at little cafe’ overlooking the town.  While  we sipped a granita (an icy lemon drink), we enjoyed the view below of beaches dotted with bright orange umbrellas which contrast against the blue sea.  Each step of this hillside town was filled with shops and eateries.  Small B&B’s and some hotels are woven into this landscape of ancient beauty.

Dining by the Sea in Positano
Dining by the Sea in Positano

All of the Amalfi coast is alluring and offers so much for your eyes to drink in.  The mesmerizing sea and lemon flavors and many old churches and historical sites.  As our day in Positano nearly came to close, after we had peered into shops to see the finery and bargain with the shop owners and street vendors, we slowly walked back to our vessel at the bottom of the town.  “Adiamo” Alas, after shopping and walking and all day, on our return to our sea tranport, we finally settled on purchasing a picture scene of Positano to remember this journey.   “Ciao”

Shops along the way
Shops along the way

Psalm 95:5  The sea is His, for it was He who made it, And His hands formed the dry land.

Mangia from Italy

Food Glorious Food!!

It is true what they say about the food in Italy!!!   A feast for the eyes and the stomach.  Foodie Alert!  This was more that just satisfying your tastes buds, it’s a sensual experience.  By this I mean,  you use many of your senses to enjoy it.  The smell, the vision, the taste and the touch.

Best Bruschetta with the top quality ingredients
Bruschetta with the top quality tomatoes and cheese and adorned with figs, jams, and olives, potatoes

 

Our B & B served us a daily breakfast on a tray …more than enough for two.

Breakfast for Two
Breakfast for Two

 

 

 

 

 

The shops on the streets had alluring desserts calling my name and gelato was everywhere!

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We also found tempting fruits stands in the streets so you can can choose healthy and fresh foods

Fruit carts
Fruit carts

 

 

 

 

Rome was overflowing with restaurants and shops of the most delicious foods.  As we ate our way through Rome our senses were delighted to be included.

Isaiah 1:19 – If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land

stay tuned……..there’s more to come about Italy

Bon Journo from Italy

Europe is fascinating to me. The people, the culture, and the history all tied into one continent.  All my life I wanted to see Italy, and truly experience Rome.  Our holiday to Rome from Boston was just an overnight flight.  Once we arrived our driver dropped us off at the end of a narrow street and we wheeled our suitcases along the cobblestones street to  Townhouse Fontina Di Trevi.

Trevi Fountain currently under construction
Trevi Fountain currently under construction

Our accommodations were a fantastic location. A small B & B a few doors down from the famous Fountain in the heart of Rome. An open window overlooked the street to Trevi fountain , a great place for doing the “people watch”.  Each morning in our luxurious space we were served a deluxe breakfast wheeled in on a cart to our room.  So, while we sipped coffee in bed  we listened to the sounds of the city outside the open 2nd floor window balcony.

Delicious dainties for Breakfast!
Delicious dainties for Breakfast!

We heard the clip clop of horses hooves pulling carriages of happy couples and accordion players created the melodic sounds of Italian music.   It felt just like a dream!

small streets of Rome
small streets of Rome
small cafe' s in the streets
small cafe’ s in the street
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We saw the Colosseum!

 

 

Our first stop was the Rome Colosseum.  We wanted to view this with our eyes to see the magnificence of such an ancient structure. There it was, in its grand state of prominence, still standing in part since 80 A.D. .  Of course I used my trusty “selfie stick” to prove my attendance at this incredible piece of history.  If  you forget to bring one don’t worry the vendors are hawking them are everywhere in the city.

Street actors -Roman Gladiator
Street actors -Roman Gladiator

When the centurion heard that, he went and told the commander, saying, “Take care what you do, for this man is a Roman.”  Acts22:26

The Street actors were all over the city entertaining ……

street actor- Genie
street actor- Genie
Lots of headless men?
Lots of headless men?
Mummies
Mummies

The streets were bustling with people and beautiful window displays…………

Oh ..That's Me in the window display!
Oh ..That’s Me in the window display!

There are many many shops to browse and drool over in Italy such as  Gucci,  Armani- all the famous Italian designers.  Italians love beautiful and unique shoes. Women were wearing shoes I could dream of owning.   Walking  towards the Spanish Steps, the high end stores were calling my name.

 

 

 

 

BOSTON you’re my HOME!

A night on the town!

Boston is a great place to visit. The city has a long history and so much to see. In recent years the waterfront has undergone a huge transformation. I live close enough to the city to be there in 20 minutes by ferry from Hingham, MA. Many times I have been here on my own power boat or my friends boats cruising through the hahbah!.IMG_5027

 

Recently we spent a Saturday night on the town. Stopping at the Barking Crab restaurant on the waterfront is a treat. Here there’s a casual vibe, great seafood, and quick service. Boat captains can dock their boat just outside the restaurant and walk up the dock to eat dinner here while viewing  the water just outside your open window on a warm summer evening.  IMG_5022

Not far from this scene, along the waterfront is the Boston Children’s Museum and the site of the famous Boston Tea Party. IMG_5025

This particular evening as we strolled the city we passed through the Harbor Hotel and headed over to the North End for an Italian Saints Festival. IMG_5169

We ended our night on the waterfront once again at the dock to board the Hingham Commuter boat back home and adjourn our evening with a ride to the front door.

 

“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden” Matthew 5:14

Summer’s Final Alfresco

I’m at it again! Another dinner party!   Summer is about to end and I can’t let it get away without another outdoor alfresco  get-together. Our summers end quickly in the Northeast so we try to take advantage of the outdoors for the few short months. It’s warm enough to appreciate dining outside on the deck.  This time I decided on my outdoor theme color as orange, since I think orange is a vibrant lively color and makes conversations lively. For my dinner party of six I had enough stock of various ‘orange’ wares to adorn the table using this color.   I rummage through all my table linens and dishes to find many items to fit my theme. This is what worked together.

Orange is a happy color!
Orange is a happy color!

While the sun was still shining, as I set the table the glint from the reflection made me smile.

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Since this was outdoors on a large deck at early evening I found simple flower napkins rings in my stock that matched the plates…might as well use them since summer is all about the flowers. Most of the things I purchased @pieroneimports. These things were purchased over the last few years time so if your looking to replicate it may be hard to find. The distressed Melamine plates lent a casual tone along with the woven strewn table runner similar to dishcloth stripes helped lend a softer look to the setting tonight.

 

Lounging space for the Cocktail Hour
Lounging space for the Cocktail Hour

I set the bluetooth to a jazz channel for the cocktail hour.   I made things easy on myself for this part of the dinner so for an easy appetizer I simply heated/cooked frozen white spinach pizza and then cut it into thin strips. Wahla! As easy app!

 

Since I had to cook and entertain I had no choice but to leave my guests while I went to the kitchen to whip up some lemon garlic scampi. I made two batches with a choice of chicken or shrimp. The rolls were fresh too and luckily my guests were not left alone for long, as the dinner prep was quick.

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CHICKEN SCAMPI
SHRIMP AND CHICKEN SCAMPI

Dinner with 6 makes for enough conversation if the host is busy cooking, the conversations can  still flow in your absence.

 

I will post more dinners or parties in the coming months, even though we may move inside for the next ones I always find an excuse to host another event for a pleasant evening.

 

Last dinner outdoors this summer
Last dinner outdoors this summer!

Stayed tuned for more party tips!