Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Tablescape Thursday-A Holiday Table

Holiday Tablescape

The dining room is festooned with feathers & ice-dusted pine. Topping the table is a silk arrangement of feathers & poinsettias in an earthy terra cotta shade. It sits atop a faux block of ice-(a glass block window) atop a skirt of peacock feathers surrounded by faux berries, pine & orange pomanders studded with cloves & coppery glass ornaments. The tablecloth is a burnished bronze with gold accents-(a gift from my husband the previous Christmas). Three gold & embroidered runners cross the table. The centerpiece is flaked by a pair of English barley twist candlesticks & a pair of woven baskets with glass inserts filled with cranberries & two pillar candles.

The chargers are gilded melamine & the dinnerware Holly & Ivy by Portmeirion. These are my everyday dishes throughout the winter. I bought them all in bits & pieces on eBay throughout the years. The silver is my “company silver”. I call it that because it has to be washed by hand so I use it only for “special” occasions. The glassware is Bavarian etched crystal with deer, pheasants, grouse & ducks. They are lovely in the candle light & bring a bit of a “lodge” feel to the table. I bought them all at a yard sale this past summer for $1.00 each-(What a find). American Brilliant cut glass lends to the feel of sculpted ice. They all have some small imperfection but are beautiful none the less. Red plaid napkins complete each place setting. Sparkling votives twinkle in gold glass cups scattered around the table. The lighting is soft & intimate befitting a dinner of family & friends.

Portmeirion Holly & Ivy china.

Sideboard centerpiece lit with sparkling white lights.

The Pomanders are a tradition in my family. When I was young, my mother & I made them every holiday. The spicy fragrance always reminds me of Christmas. These pomanders are faux. I used real cloves to stud them but the oranges are from Michael’s & the Dollar Store. I made a pattern using mini cookie cutters traced onto paper for the hearts & stars. For the bands encircling the orange, rubber bands did the trick to keep the rows even. I used a permanent marker to place dots on the areas I wanted to insert the cloves. Using a tool to start holes-(It came in a mini screwdriver set of my husbands) I poked a hole just deep enough to insert the clove. The oranges feel like plastic on the outside but have an interior made of Styrofoam so they were fairly easy to work with. Faux lemons or limes would work just as nicely. Everyone thought they were real & but these pomanders will still be lovely next year.
Happy Tablescape Thursday to all. Be sure to Visit our hostess Between Naps on the Front Porch for more eye candy & fabulous ideas.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

A Snowy Wednesday

Snow-Snow-Snow & More Snow!
No snow in the forecast today-but last Wednesday-WOW-18 inches on top of the 20 inches from the weekend before. We no sooner dug out from the first storm-when we were gifted with a second BIG snow. The second storm had near blizzard conditions by mid-day Wednesday. All major highways were closed. I dug a path out to my fishpond to check on their heater & air stone. After that we hunkered down, lit the fireplace & watched it snow! I baked cookies for Valentine’s Day - my grandma’s Sand Tart recipe, which you can find in my Recipes on the right side tab. They are delicious & fast disappearing-unlike the snow!
Our temps here in Central PA are only to be in the 30’s with teens and twenty’s at night-brrrrr! Time to snuggle up to a warm hubby & cozy cat. Mother Nature freshened up the scenery Tuesday afternoon & evening with a light dusting of about one inch. Thankfully-nothing to shovel.

So I am out-and-about today! The roads are clear, even if the sidewalks & parking areas are not. So happy Outdoor Wednesday wherever you are!

Be sure to visit Susan at A Southern Daydreamer for more Outdoor Wednesdays!

Snowy lane beside our house.

A snow garden.

The patio from my bedroom window.

The side yard from the attic window.

It's a blizzard out there.

Somewhere under there is my car!

Trumpet vine arch in the side yard.


Add a dash of red-it will brighten your mood on even the greyest day. A toss pillow, a lampshade, a throw, a bouquet of red roses-perfect for a little romance.

Just a pinch of pink-it’s girly and brings a smile to your lips. Pink roses in a china teacup: a barkcloth pillow with pink, cabbage roses; a potted amaryllis in candy-stripe pink & white; shortbread cookies iced with sugar; flutes of white zinfandel garnished with red raspberries; a fluttery scarf…

I bring out my collection of Victorian valentines and scatter them though out the house. The most delicate peep out from beneath a clear bell cloche. I have been collecting them since I was young at flea markets, yard sales & antique shops.

I love Tulips in the winter! They hint that spring is right around the corner.

February has been our snowiest month. We’ve had to measure in feet instead of inches!
Nothing like a steaming mug of hot chocolate topped off with caramel/chocolate covered marshmallows to ward off the chill followed by a nice, hot soak in the tub for those weary muscles. When the snow is blowing and outside looks like a freshly shaken snow globe, there’s nothing better than a snuggly quilt and a good book.

My recommended reads: A Year In Provence & Chasing Cezanne by Peter Mayle.

I love to bake in the winter. My grandmother always made her Sand Tart cookies for every holiday-even President’s Day-she made a little hatchet in honor of Washington chopping down the cherry tree. I made hearts for Valentine’s Day & gifted all my friends & family. Her little added sweet is a cinnamon candy heart.

Make your own Sand Tarts in my recipes.


Winter - a whisper of whites & silver. After Christmas’ kaleidoscope of color, usher in the New Year with whites, ivories & touches of silver. Tulips add a glimpse of spring-pair them with white ironstone or silver vases. Give your rooms some winter warmth with glowing candles in clear or silver mercury glass holders. Place them in clusters on a mirror or silver tray. Faux ice bedecked branches in a tall crystal vase mirror the frosty weather outside.


Bulbs are popping up at all the garden centers & shops- bring some home for an instant winter pick-me-up!

Find a comfy chair… pour yourself a steaming cup of tea…wrap up in a snuggly blanket & get lost in a good book.

Visit your local garden shop or arboretum to visit with spring, if just for a little while.

Add a vintage white lace tablecloth...
Crystal decanters look like sculpted ice...

Host a mid-winter party with lots of comfort food-stews and soups and crusty breads. Get everyone involved and have them bring a favorite dish. It gives everyone something to look forward to after the holiday hustle-bustle. End the evening with some fragrant gingerbread & mulled cider.
Wrap up in your warmest sweater and fur-lined boots, don’t forget the scarf & gloves, take along a thermos of hot cocoa and enjoy the splendor of winter with a walk through your favorite park.

Sharing Christmas

Where have the days gone? It’s hard to believe that the groundhog has seen his shadow, & we’re nibbling on fasnaughts & next thing you know it will be Easter! As there is still lots of snow on the ground, winter is still very much in the present, so I thought I’d share some Christmas with you as I take down the final piece from the nativity and carefully wrap it in lots of snow-white tissue till next year.

Fragrant greens, spicy pomanders, polished apples and bright red berries-Christmas is here! We start the trimming right after thanksgiving and finish on Christmas Eve. Every room has some small token of this festive season. Bright shiny apples in red & green in the kitchen nestle in boughs of fresh evergreen & holly. The finishing touch sparkling votives in miniature copper molds. Spicy orange pomanders scent the air with fragrance.

The tree is in the family room bedecked with antique ornaments and miles of ribbon. Live & faux greens trim the mantle & top the secretary and Irish dresser. Candles twinkle in glass vases with pomegranates & cranberries.

The dining room is festooned with feathers & ice-dusted pine & coppery glass or velvet ornaments. The tablecloth is a burnished bronze with gold accents. The poinsettia arrangement which tops the table sits on a block of faux ice atop a skirt of peacock feathers. Ice dusted pine boughs with twinkling white lights top the French corner cabinet.

The manger set is carefully unpacked and placed in the glass-fronted china cabinet in the living room. Every surface sparkles with jars of antique ornaments-(an idea I borrowed from my friend Patti).

Everywhere there are flowers-poinsettias, orchids, & amaryllis. The packages are wrapped. A final touch of greens around the banister-we’re ready!